Being overweight is becoming more and more common within our present day and age, and obesity is on the rise within our current nation. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. While our nation is becoming more and more obese, I don’t believe that this is the true desire of man’s heart. No one really wants to be fat, right? Statistics show the weight ratio within our nation (below) and we see that the majority of the world is overweight/obese.
■ Normal weight or underweight (BMI under 24.9) – 31.2%
■ Overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) – 33.1 %
■ Obesity (BMI of 30+) – 35.7%
■ Extreme obesity (BMI of 40+) – 6.3%
Source: NHANES, 2009–2010
So, here’s a little insight into my past.
Growing up, I was fat. Yes, I said it fat, fat…FAT!!! I was greedy and I loved food!
Out of all my siblings, I was the biggest one with the biggest stomach. I was known as the finisher, because after I ate my food (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) I was lurking around the table, waiting to see if my siblings would leave behind any of their food so I could FINISH it! Being overweight was not my desire. It came with many implications and stigmatizations. I remember being called nasty, ugly, disgusting, and it really hurt me. Many of my classmates did not want to be my friend. I was called many names, and one that I never forgot was “Grizzly Bear”. I remember having crushes, and they NEVER looked my way. It was hard growing up as an overweight child. I was overweight for the majority of my childhood up until the 7th grade. That summer between 7th and 8th grade my life drastically changed. I was outside EVERYDAY learning how to jump double dutch. I literally mean every day. Our neighbors and cousins would come by my house and we would jump rope all day. By the end of the summer I realized that a lot of my fat melted away!!!
From there I managed to maintain an ideal weight for my height and age, but as I got older and my life patterns changed I noticed a drastic fluctuation of my weight. I knew that I needed to take charge of my diet in order to stay consistent, but every time I tried to, I would fall back into old habits/patterns.
May 24, 2009 changed my life forever.
There was a couple at my church conducting a healthy living seminar where we learned about food being a source of vitality, and that through your blood you can identify your health. That day I had my blood analyzed, and I learned that I was not as healthy as I thought I was. My cells were clumped together, my cholesterol wasn’t ideal, and if I continued on the path I was on, I would succumb to illnesses and diseases during my lifespan. We also learned about the effects of meat and animal products on the body, and how it contributed to my current state.
That day I did a complete turnaround! (After I had a Whopper meal from Burger King…LOL.)
I decided to give up meat and become a vegetarian.
That meant no more chicken, oxtail, turkey…I was done with it.
After that decision, I began the Daniel Fast, which included eating a diet of only fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables. At first this was difficult for me, but I soon adapted to the change in diet and soon enough it became a part of me.
After changing my diet alone, I lost a significant amount of weight to the point where I was actually skinny!!! People kept asking me if I was stressed, or if I wasn’t eating. In all actuality, none of the former was true. I was pretty content and I ate a whole lot!!! The key was in the type of foods I was eating.
Please know, that I’m not here to convert you to a vegetarian, but I do want to share the importance of diet and health.
Eating a balanced diet is essential because, truth be told; your organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work effectively. Think about it this way, if your car requires ultra gas to function 100%, but instead you fill it with regular gas, the car will not function at its fullest capacity. It may appear to at first, but overtime you will see the effects of using regular gas versus ultra gas for which it calls for. Without good nutrition, your body is more likely to become diseased; you can contract infections more easily; become fatigued; and overall exhibit poor presentation with everything that you do.
As I mentioned earlier, the rates of obesity in our country is alarming, and it is mainly contributed to a poor diet and a lack of exercise. (We will touch on exercise another time.)
This is also important to know: The United States Department of Agriculture reports that four of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are directly influenced by diet. These are:
- heart disease
As a wife and mother of 4, I want to lead a healthy life as much as possible, so that I can be physically, mentally, and overall able to function for my family – as well as for my purpose within society.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
How can food be our medicine?
We will look at foods that can heal, and foods that promote weight loss:
Foods That Heal
- Olives and Olive Oil– There has been adequate research on the health benefits of olives. The regular consumption of olives gives rise to a healthy heart, brain, skin, and joints. They have even been linked to the prevention of cancer and diabetes. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Pomegranate– Pomegranates are known to contain strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-obesity, and anti-tumor properties. Pomegranates are also being considered as legitimate treatment options for chronic diseases such as intestinal inflammation, cancer, insulin resistance, and obesity. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Flax– Flax provides a natural, vegan source of Omega-3 essential fatty acid, lignans, and fiber. Flax is also known to help fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Sprouted Grain Bread– “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar, and use them to make bread for yourself.” (Ezekiel 4:9).
In the Book of Ezekiel, taken from the Bible, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a recipe for what has proven to be the best bread on the market as evidenced by science. Ezekiel bread is considered a “complete protein,” which means it contains all essential amino acids. Ezekiel bread is considered healthier than other breads due to the fact that the grains/legumes are soaked and sprouted, which makes them easier to absorb. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Raw Milk– Raw milk is filled with calcium, vitamin K2, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins, all of which is essential to maintain optimal health. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Coriander and Parsley– Coriander is the seed of the powerful anti-oxidant and natural cleansing agent cilantro. It is often referred to as the “anti-diabetic” because of its mysterious ability to normalize blood sugar. These herbs are also used to reverse diseases, normalize blood sugar, prevent cancer, and offer joint relief. (Dr. Axe, 2017)
- Vegetables– Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense and safest foods to eat (Organic). According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, radish etc.) can help prevent cancer, because they are rich in glucosinolates (a large group of sulfur-containing glucosides). Glucosinolates are also known to treat inflammation, bacterial and viral infections, carcinogenic toxicity,tumor angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), and tumor metastasis (tumor migration). (Dr. Axe, 2017)
Foods That Promote Weight Loss:
- Leafy Greens
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Lean Beef and Chicken Breast
- Boiled Potatoes
- Beans and Legumes
- Whole grains
As we can see, the same foods that promote healing also help us to lose weight and stay in shape.
One of the most common barriers that individuals face when it comes to changing their diet is:
“What in the world do I eat now?” or “I can’t have this…. And I can’t have that…What can I eat???”
No need to fear!
Please check out the excellent recipes included below. I have personally used these recipes to make nutritious, healthy, and DELICIOUS meals for my family.
So, the question remains… What’s cooking?
- What’s cooking is a desire to be better as individuals.
- What’s cooking is a desire to lead healthy lives by making optimal food choices.
- What’s cooking is a desire to live to our fullest potential.
All recipes are obtained from Minimalist Baker: http://minimalistbaker.com/
CRISPY EGGPLANT “BACON”
Crispy vegan bacon made with eggplant! Sliced eggplant is brushed with a smoky sauce and baked to perfection! A tasty, plant-based bacon alternative.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Side
Serves: ~14 slices
- 1 medium eggplant (you’ll only use half)
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) avocado or olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp (20 ml) tamari
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vegan Worcestershire (I like Annie’s brand, this one is GF!)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (107 C) – turn to “convection bake” if you have it to speed cooking time. Line 1 large or 2 small baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
- Slice an eggplant in half lengthwise and set one half aside for other uses (such as Baba Ganoush, Vegan Queso, or 1-Pot Pasta). Then cut the remaining eggplant in half lengthwise once more so you have two long, skinny pieces.
- Use a sharp knife or mandolin to slice into very thin strips (resembling the size/shape of bacon). They should be thicker than paper thin – roughly 1/8th inch. Set aside.
- Make sauce by adding avocado oil, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine.
- Use a brush (or a spoon) to brush both sides of the eggplant slices with sauce. Arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet(s) and sprinkle with more black pepper.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the eggplant is deep red in color, appears dry, and is slightly crispy. If needed, increase heat to 250 (121 C) at the end if not crisping up. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. It will crisp up the more it cools.
- Use immediately on things such as on sandwiches, in salads, or alongside or mixed into a tofu scramble.
- Once cooled, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. To reheat, heat a skillet over medium heat, add a little oil of choice, then heat bacon on both sides until warmed (be careful not to burn).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 slice of eggplant “bacon” of about 14 total.
Serving size: 1 slice (of 14 total) Calories: 28 Fat: 2.2 g Saturated fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 2.1 g Sugar: 1.4 gSodium: 108 mg Fiber: 0.7 g Protein: 0.3 g
KALE CHIP NACHOS (30 MINUTES!)
30-minute, 7-ingredient vegan nachos made with kale chips, sweet potato rounds, black beans, avocado and salsa! A filling, flavorful, healthy, plant-based meal or snack.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Entrée, Snack, Side, Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free, Mexican-Inspired
- 1 large or 2 small bundles (~500 g) curly kale
- 2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) avocado oil or melted coconut oil
- Healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- optional:1 Tbsp (3 g) nutritional yeast
- 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans (if unsalted, add 1/4 tsp sea salt), slightly drained
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut or avocado oil
- 1 large sweet potato (~150 g), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (organic when possible)
- Ripe avocado
- Favorite salsa (or make your own!)
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Sliced red onion
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (107 C) – use convection bake if you have it – and prep kale by rinsing, thoroughly drying, and tearing into small pieces (discard any large stems).
- Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil. Use hands to massage the kale to disperse the oil.
- Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and nutritional yeast (optional) to the kale and toss with hands to distribute.
- Divide kale between 2 large baking sheets and spread into an even layer, making sure the pieces aren’t overlapping to ensure crispiness. You may need to bake them in 2 batches depending on size of baking sheets.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and toss/stir to ensure even baking. Bake for 5-10 minutes more or until chips are crispy and slightly golden brown. Watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn.
- In the meantime, add slightly drained black beans to a small saucepan along with cumin and chili powder (add salt if beans are unsalted) and warm over medium heat. Once bubbling, reduce to low to keep warm. Stir occasionally.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil and spread to coat the surface. Then add sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer. Cover to steam.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, checking every couple of minutes to see if the undersides are brown. Once brown, flip to the other side, cover, and continue cooking until both sides are brown and potatoes are tender (about 7-8 minutes total). Set aside.
- To serve, arrange kale chips on a serving platter and top with sweet potatoes, black beans, and any other desired toppings, such as avocado, salsa, cilantro, or red onion. Serves 2 as an entrée or 4 as a side.
- Store leftover sweet potatoes and black beans separately in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days. Store leftover kale chips in a well-sealed container at room temperature up to 3 days (though best when fresh).
- Serve these as is or with my Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soupor 5-Ingredient Ginger Beer Margaritas!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings without additional toppings (i.e. salsa, avocado, onion, etc.).
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe without extra toppings Calories: 209 Fat: 5.6 g Saturated fat: 3.6 g Carbohydrates: 33.6 g Sugar: 2.9 g Sodium: 69 mg Fiber: 6.6 g Protein: 8.8 g
(Dr. Axe, 2017). Top 10 Bible Foods that Heal. Retrieved on March 10, 2017 from https://draxe.com/top-10-bible-foods-that-heal/