Friday, February 3, 2017

What are Detox Diets and How Are They Different?

There are many types of diets to choose from, so what’s so special about detox diets? First of all, Detox is short for detoxification. The goal is to detoxify or clean out your body. That’s why you will also hear about “cleanse” diets, which mean pretty much the same thing.

There is not one single detox diet, but many. They do, however, share some common traits. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this type of diet.

Detox Diets and Weight Loss 

When you hear the word “diet,” you usually assume that it’s a weight loss plan. There’s nothing wrong with this, as many people have this goal. Indeed, if you are overweight, this is something you should be focused on for health reasons.

Detox diets, however, are not necessarily about losing weight. Even when you do want to shed some pounds, a detox diet usually has broader goals as well. When you cleanse your body, you aren’t only trying to get skinnier -you’re improving your health by getting rid of harmful toxins.

So people who are thin, fat or somewhere in between can all benefit from a healthy detox diet. It should help to normalize your weight, but this is only one of the goals!

Energy and Well Being

Conventional diets don’t necessarily make you feel better. Some may actually drain your body of essential nutrients. Detox diets, however, are designed to make you feel better in every way.

One caveat is that there is sometimes a short period of time when you feel worse after starting a detox diet. That’s when your body is learning new habits. To put it bluntly, you may be addicted to certain unhealthy foods. In this case, you may experience a type of withdrawal when you start eating healthier. This isn’t a bad thing, though it’s uncomfortable.

Youthful Complexion

Detox diets are healthy for your whole body, including your skin and hair. This makes them perfect for giving you a younger and healthier appearance. This isn’t to say that you can start a detox diet on Monday and look 20 years younger by Friday. If you stick with the diet for a while, this might happen, though!

Emotional Benefits

 When toxins are removed from your body, you feel better mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Unhealthy foods such as sweets and other junk foods tend to wreak havoc with your blood sugar and brain chemistry. So when you detoxify, you are less prone to mood swings and depression.

We aren’t saying that a detox diet is a cure for a severe emotional disorder such as clinical depression. It can, however, help balance out your emotions.

These are just some of the potential benefits of a detox diet. Before you go on one, however, you should do a little research. You want to find a program that’s right for you. Just because it has words like “detox” or “cleanse” in it doesn’t mean it’s great.

Fasting and Detoxing

There are different types of detox diet plans. Some are very short term, such as different kinds of fasts. These can help you cleanse your body every so often, but you should be careful if you’re not accustomed to fasting.
Start out with a short fast of no more than 2 or 3 days. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and not doing anything too strenuous. A juice fast is good for this because you’re getting some healthy nutrients and not starving yourself.

You should not try to use fasting as part of a weight loss strategy. You will probably lose weight after fasting, but then you will gain it back again when you return to your regular diet. The objective of a fast is to clean out your body; the temporary loss of weight is only a byproduct of this.
If you attempt to use fasting as a weight loss tactic, you are moving in the direction of a starvation diet. This is not detoxing, and it’s not healthy!

Long Term Detox Diets

I suggest having the goal of finding a moderate, long-term detox diet. This means eating in a healthy yet reasonable manner -hopefully for the rest of your life! Rather than try to gain some dramatic results in a short time, think of this as part of a larger plan to transform your life.

I’m not saying that short term detox diets, including facts, can’t be beneficial. Yet they aren’t going to help that much if you usually eat an unhealthy diet. In other words, you can’t binge most of the time and expect to make up for it by fasting or detoxing every so often!

Exercise and Lifestyle: Another Aspect of Detoxing

Diet is only one aspect of a healthy way of life. While the focus of this article is on detox diets, you also can’t ignore the importance of exercise. Regular exercise if vital for good health, as more and more research indicates. Exercise is great for detoxifying your body, and this goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.

You don’t necessarily have to join a gym. You don’t need to engage in activities that you hate. All that’s necessary is to engage in the regular physical activity. This can be walking, sports, hiking, riding a bike, swimming, playing tennis or anything that you like.

You should also get as much physical activity as possible in your regular, everyday life. Try to walk more and rely less on cars, elevators, escalators and so forth. When you have free time, get outside and so something rather than being a couch potato!

Rest and Releasing Stress

Sleep is another crucial factor in a healthy lifestyle. This is also essential for detoxifying your body. If you don’t get enough rest, you are putting your body under stress, which is definitely not good for your health.
Speaking of weight, this is an often unrecognized source of toxins. 

We can even say that all toxins are a type of pressure. Yet right now I’m talking about stress in the usual way -getting tense, upset or feeling negative emotions.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough rest can help you feel more balanced and reduce stress. Yet if stress is a problem for you, it’s essential to take a close look at this and find a solution. You may have to change your outlook or the way you interact with others. If you cannot do this on your own, you should look into counseling of some kind.

Detoxifying Your Life

This has been a general overview of what detox diets can do for you. I haven’t tried to push any particular food, but rather discussed why this type of diet is worth considering.

Hopefully, you will also understand that no food on its own can transform your life. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but you are really better off if you take action to improve things in all areas of your life. That way, you will get the maximum benefits from a detox diet!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Benefits of Smoothies for Health

Smoothie kiosks, restaurants and pre-packaged smoothie drinks are available everywhere. The fruity drink has become a favorite for many, and with the numerous health benefits it’s easy to see why. Today you can find countless food chains that offer smoothies. However, in some cases, you should proceed with caution when you go to pick the right smoothie. Many of these chains promote smoothies high in fat and calories that can actually detract from the health benefits that a homemade smoothie can provide although they are almost always delicious in my opinion as long as they are made with fresh fruits like strawberries, bananas, peaches, or mangos for instance.

Red Smoothie Detox review
Red Smoothie Detox review

Everyone once in awhile i’ll admit that I enjoy indulging in a robeks smoothie, the peanut power shake is to die for! But over time I have found that it’s more rewarding to blend these amazingly delicious shakes at home by yourself instead of relying on a store or a pre-packaged option. This way it’s easily accessible and better on the wallet if you know how to shop for ingredients. With only some general information on smoothies, you can learn how to make them delicious and even unique if you know the right tricks, while saving you money in process if you are the type that likes a good deal.

Smoothies are delicious and easy to make. All you need is a few simple ingredients and a blender. They are great for a midday snack, a delicious treat on the go, and can even can be used as a complete meal replacement. I find it really strange that more people don’t use them as a larger part of their diets because of this versatility. Properly made they can provide you with more nutrients than juice, and since most juices such as Welches brand are equivalent to drinking liquid candy, it’s better to steer clear of them anyway. 

Similar to over the counter juice, this is one danger you run into if you are buying your smoothies from a place that sells them instead of buying the ingredients and making it yourself. I personally always like to know what is in what I am drinking.

A smoothie offers higher levels of fiber, to ensure excellent digestion. They can provide you with the full spectrum of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Smoothies have enough vitamins to get you through the entire day without having to worry about being properly nourished. Personally I like to drink my smoothie first thing in the morning as a part of breakfast. It ensures that my body is hydrated right from the start (especially if you add a few ice cubes into the mix), and it’s great as a portable meal for when you’re on the go as I mentioned earlier. Its my second most common use of these great shakes. When you drink them, you will also have more energy throughout the day by adding all of those extra fruits in your system.  Fruit in general does a great job at providing your body with really high quality carbohydrates which give a dramatic increase in energy. I tend to try many different ingredients but enjoy smoothie recipes with yogurt in the morning the most.
The best part about a smoothie is that there is no set recipe for how to make it, or what fruits to add. If you are in the mood for something different and want to add mangos or something like acai berries, there is a lot of freedom to do so. This allows for some great creativity in the kitchen. Because of this fact, and because I never know which ingredients and recipes I will feel like choosing, I like to keep my fridge stocked with all of my favorite fruits. It’s a must to have bananas on the grocery list if you are a smoothie drinker, they’re rich in potassium and provide the drink with a creamy texture and consistency, making in more pleasant to eat. I also make sure to have an ample supply of orange juice, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple, these are some more of the more common ingredients I will typically use.
Another great tip is to get ready in advance if you know you will want to be having smoothies regularly during the coming week. I like to cut up my fruit and store it in the fridge at the beginning of each week.  It cuts down the prep time for when i’m in a hurry and running out the door in the morning as is not too uncommon with me. Another great option is to purchase frozen fruit in bulk from a local grocery store. This is a great tip for if you don’t think you will be able to go through all of the fruits and other ingredients you buy in the same week. Frozen fruit lasts a lot longer than fresh fruit and it still tastes great when you blend it. I tend to mix it up myself and always try to go through what I have fresh first while keeping a stock in the freezer for when I run out but don’t have time to run to the store that day.

Smoothies really do have some great benefits, it’s part of the reason why I am so passionate about spreading the word to other people. I want everyone to have the chance to be healthier and feel better like I have since I started drinking them on a regular basis. They protect your from illness, boost your immune system and re-energize your body. When I first started I did not really believe I would see a different in how much energy I had, but boy was I wrong. I feel much better than I did on my old diet that was less organized and full of fillers instead of my diet not packed with vitamins and nutrients. What’s not to love about a smoothie? Leading nutritionists encourage you to add a smoothie into your meal plan, their taste better than a multivitamin and with only minutes of prep time you can enjoy them quickly. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next drink, or simply don’t know where to start, don’t worry I have provided a list of healthy and delicious smoothie recipes throughout this site to get you started. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cheesy Herb Breadsticks

One of my favorite comforts, is bread sticks.  Great with pasta night or just by themselves.


  • Warm water - 2 cups
  • Dry active yeast - 1 Tablespoon
  • White Sugar (Granulated Sugar) - 2 Table Spoons
  • Olive oil - 1/4 cup
  • Garlic - 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Italian Seasoning - 1 Tablespoon
  • Flour - 5 Cups
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon

egg wash

  • one egg Plus 1 T of Water -
  • 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees

Cheesy Herb Breadsticks
Cheesy Herb Breadsticks


This is basically a French bread recipe with herbs and garlic.  First, combine the Water, sugar, and yeast.  Let it stand for a few minutes.  While the water and yeast are standing. In a small bowl combine the oil, garlic, salt and Italian Seasoning.  You can use any herbs you wish.  I like basil, thyme, and oregano.  Mix the oil and herbs well and add to the water and yeast.

Next, gradually add the flour a cup at a time.  In my mixer, I mix two cups of flour on medium speed for 2 minutes then slowly add the remaining flour until it starts to come away from the edges.  I then mix on low for five minutes.

If doing it by hand, I will knead the dough for several minutes.  (I generally have about 1/2 to 1/4 cup of flour that I don'/t end up adding.

Once it is nice a kneaded I place the dough in a large oiled bowl. (just a quick spray of Pam) flip the dough so all sides are oil place a tea towel over the bowl and let it rise for about 40-60 minutes until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen.  Place the dough on a clean counter with a small dusting of flour.  I gently flatten the dough and using a rolling pin, roll the dough flat to about 1/2 inch thick.

Then using a pizza cutter or knife cut the dough into bread stick like portions and place on a greased cookie sheet.  I then let the bread stick rise again for about thirty minutes

Before placing the bread stick in the oven, I coat the bread with egg wash and then add either a spice collection like Mrs. Dash or Salad Supreme or I add shredded cheese.  The egg wash does make for a firmer crust.  If you want a chewier crust, then use melted butter instead.  Be creative with your toppings. I have tried several different things.  (I usually experiment on a small pan or portion.....curry powder topped bread sticks went quickly to the trash, but hey now I know.)

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

This recipe has three parts; the crust, filling and crumb topping.  And it is all good.


For the Pie Filling

  • apples, (I like Fuji and green apples mixed) - 6 cups thinly sliced and peeled. ( almost chopped)
  • White Sugar (Granulated Sugar) - 1/2 Cup
  • flour - 3 Tablespoons
  • cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1/8 teaspoon (pinch)

Crumb Topping

  • Brown Sugar - 1 Cup Packed
  • flour - 1/2 Cup
  • Quick Cooking Rolled Oats - 1/2 Cup
  • Butter - 1/2 Cup (one stick)
  • caramel - 1/4-1/2 cup
  • pecans - 1/2 cup (optional)

No Roll Crust

  • Flour - 1 1/2 C
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • White Sugar (Granulated Sugar) - 2 teaspoons
  • Vegetable Oil - 1/2 Cup
  • Milk - 2 Table Spoons

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie
Caramel Apple Crumble Pie
OK, so lets start with the crust.  I wasn't having a lot of success making pie crust.  Who knew you needed to refrigerate it first.  ( well probably everyone but me.)  Thus enter the no-roll crust.  I make this in my big cast iron pie pan.  I told you all I liked cast iron.  Well, I mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  You can do it in the pie pan, but I get a better mix in a bigger mixing bowl.  After getting the dry ingredients good and mixed, you make a little well or bowl in the center of your dry ingredients and add your wet ingredients there.  Mix well until it all comes together and becomes a ball.  I then put the ball in my pie pan (lightly oiled) and press out flat, shaping it with your fingers.  Bake the crust for 4-6 minutes at 375 degrees

Now in a separate bowl mix add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt together.   Once well blended add the apples (I give my apples a little pulse in a food processor to get them more of a chopped large pieces of apple as opposed to slices, but this is a personal preference.) Toss and stir the apples into the sugar mixture until well coated.  Once coated place the apples in the pie pan.
With our apples were done we are ready for our crumb topping.  Stir together the brown sugar, oats, and flour.  Using a pastry knife, (or a fork if you don't have a pastry knife) cut in the butter until it looks like small crumbs like cottage cheese.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the apples covering the pie evenly.

To prevent the edges of the pie from burning cover the edges with aluminum foil
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes (I check it at 20 minutes to make sure it doesn't over cook)  You want the top to be golden brown.    Once you pull it out of the oven drizzle caramel over the top.  (it help to heat the caramel up a bit, so it pours easier) You can also sprinkle pecans at this time too. ( I take my chopped pecans and cook them with some caramel to make them caramel candied caramel pecans).

Let the pie cool and serve.  It is divine.  It is the best of pie and a cobbler in one dessert.

Quick and easy homemade pizza

This is one of our family’s favorite meals.  My problem is that I am not so organized nor psychic enough to know if we want pizza the next day enough to go through the trouble of making a pizza dough that needs to be refrigerated overnight.  So I came up with this dough.  It is a French bread dough tweaked a bit. What is nice is that it is ready quick, and we are having pizza.
Now I have been making pizza for a long time, and it was not until I got a pizza stone that our pizza started tasting really great.  I have used a stone for years, and it is great. That said I recently got a new cast iron cookie sheet or baking pan.  It works just as well if not better.  Now I can not put as large pizza on the cast Iron as I can my pizza stone, but it work great because we all like our own individual size pizzas.  The nice thing is that the cast iron cookie sheet is more versatile then the pizza stone.
easy homemade pizza
easy homemade pizza
I will some times put my oven on broil for the last minute of the baking time especially if there are lots of toppings and extra cheese.
Another tip is that I cook the crust for a couple of minutes before I put the toppings on.  This gets me a nice start on a good crust while the top is not doughy.  Hate doughy pizza.


  • Active dry yeat - 4 teaspoons or 2 packets (20 ml)
  • White Sugar (granulated sugar) - 1 teaspoon (5ml)
  • Warm water - 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)
  • olive oil - 2 Table spoons (30ml)
  • Garlic (optional) - 1 teaspoon (5ml)
  • Italian Seasoning (optional) - 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
  • Bread Flour - 3 1/2 - 4 Cups ( 950 ml)
  • bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes
  • In a large mixing bowl add the warm water, yeast and sugar.  If you want you can cut the sugar in half.  I like a sweeter dough.  Allow the yeast to proof or activate.  (If you are using instant yeast there is no need to proof the yeast).  I next add the olive oil.  You can substitute any vegetable oil.  If I am going to add the garlic and Italian seasoning I combine it with the olive oil.  ( Italian seasoning is a combination of Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Savory, Sage, Oregano and Basil)  You can substitute your favorite herb instead.  I often use just Oregano or Basil.
    Mix well.  In my mixer I just give it a few quick pulses with my bread hook attachment.  I next add the salt and then the flour.
    Add one cup and mix well.  After the first cup is well mixed I then gradually add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time.    In my mixer I am mixing at medium speed and keep on adding flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides.   I then let it mix on low for three to four minutes.
    If mixing by hand I mix the first cup of flour by spoon then I use my hands to hand mix and knead the dough with the remaining flour adding flour gradually until i have a very elastic yet slightly sticky dough.  I then place the dough on a floured surface and knead for several minutes.
    I then divide the dough into about just smaller then fist size portions.  On a floured surface I roll the dough out into a pizza-like a shape.
    Then place in the hot oven on your pizza stone, cast iron sheet or cookie sheet for 1- 2 minutes.
    Remove your pizza crust from the oven using a spatula or Pizza paddle.  I like to place my crust on a paddle and then add the sauce and toppings.  I generally use a higher quality spaghetti sauce for convenience.   I spread on the sauce then some base cheese of shredded cheddar-jack mix.  Then add your favorite toppings and top with mozzarella cheese. Stick back in the oven for about eight minutes.  If the top is not quite done change the oven to broil for 30 seconds to a minute.
    Once the pizza is cooked remove it and let it cool for a couple of minutes, cut and serve.
    For a change, I will sometimes make a garlic butter topping instead of red sauces.  Take 1/4 cup of butter add 1/2 -1 tsp of garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and 1 Tablespoon Chives and use that instead of sauce

Do Everything French bread

This is one of the most versatile and easy bread recipes going.

 French bread
 French bread


  • Warm water - 1 1/2 Cups
  • Instant yeast - 3/4 of Tables spoon ( 1 Tablespoon of active dry yeast)
  • White Sugar (Granulated Sugar) - 2 Tablespoons
  • Canola or Olive Oil - 2 Tablespoons
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Flour - 4 Cups
This is a really simple bread recipe.  If you are using dry yeast, you will want to activate it with the water and sugar.  Once the yeast is going just add the rest of the ingredients but 2 cups of the flour.  Mix the dough well.  I mix on medium speed with my mixer for about 2 minutes.  I then gradually add the rest of the flour until it pulls away from the sides then mix on low for about five minutes.  I have to set the timer because I always want to stop the mixer early.
Once the dough is done.  It should be elastic and slightly sticky I place it in a large greased bowl to rise.  Once it is in the bowl flip the bread over so it is oiled on all sides.  Let the bread rise for about 40 minutes.  I then take the dough and lay it out on a nice clean counter that has been lightly floured.  I then shape the bread into either round rolls, hoagie buns or loafs.  I try not to knead the bread or be overly aggressive with it after it has risen the first time.
I have found that for the best buns I use my cast iron cookie sheet.  I heat the cast iron sheet in the oven before I place the rolls on it.   I get a great rise, and the buns have a great crust on them.  I will sometimes put an egg wash on the bread and sprinkle with sesame seeds or dried onion or even asiago cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 20 -25 minutes.
If using a cast iron pan, I put the bread on a cooling rack soon after removing from the oven.  The cast iron will continue to cook the bread if you leave it for too long.
This makes the best sandwich rolls.  Great crust with a nice chewy middle.  It makes a good sandwich great.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Best Muscle Food

When the subject of the best muscle food comes up, we have to remember that protein is the body's main building blocks for muscles and tissues. Proteins, along with carbohydrates and fats, are the body's three fuels necessary to sustain life. However, proteins are the more important fuel for building muscles as will be explained later on.

Types of Proteins
There are two types of protein that the body needs: essential and non-essential. Lest you think that one is more important than the other, the designation is usually made to distinguish between what the body can produce (non-essential) and what the body needs from the diet (essential).
Just for educational purposes, the 11 non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, praline, serine, and tyrosine. The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan. At the very least, you will know what to look for in protein supplements.
The Best Muscle Food
The Best Muscle Food
Importance of Eating Protein-Rich Foods
Proteins are necessary to achieve the desired fitness level especially in terms of building muscles. This is because once your body is deprived of any of the amino acids, it will turn to its own muscles and tissue for fuel consumption. Basically, your body ends up eating itself just to sustain its life and, hence, you end up little more then skin and bones if and when you continue to deprive yourself of high protein food sources. It's definitely not the way to go for bigger muscles. Plus, keep in mind that the body cannot store protein in large quantities, unlike in the case of fats and carbohydrates. What little that can be stored in the bloodstream is quickly used up. Thus, you have to eat protein from the right food sources in order to build muscle safely, efficiently and quickly.
Sources of Protein Generally speaking, proteins from animal sources are considered higher in quality than the proteins found in plants. This is because animal-based food sources contain almost all, if not all, the essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth. However, you still need to take both animal and plant-based protein sources because you do need your fruits and vegetables for their vitamins and minerals. After all, muscle building is not just about bigger muscles - it is also about being healthy to sustain your muscle-building activities.
Thus, do take your legumes, beans and whole grains to supplement your animal-based proteins. These include chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish, eggs, red meats, and dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese. However, do beware that these foods can contain fats so opt for their low-fat varieties. Many bodybuilders also take protein supplements to improve on their muscle-building activities. It must be noted that these supplements should never ever replace foods since your digestive system is designed to process foods, not just supplements all the time. You cannot sacrifice your health in favor of muscles, can you?
Needless to say, not even the best protein-packed foods in the world will be able to achieve bigger muscles for you. Exercise is still a very important component of any muscle-building program, which often means that weight training is in your near future.