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How to Drown Your Pomegranate Problems

15 Sep

How to Drown Your Pomegranate Problems

Fall is about to befall us, meaning that pomegranates are coming into peak season.

Pomegranates (Punica granatam) are a fruit-bearing shrub native to the area from Iran to the Himalayas. According to California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., the fruit was first introduced in California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In the northern hemisphere we find pomegranates in peak season from September-January.

Like most fruit fans, I’m taken by how pretty pomegranates are. Their rich red arils (the brightly colored cover of a seed) augment any fall salad and make a colorful confection…but that same hearty hue will also stain the crap out of your clothes!

For a long time I was content to buy pomegranates already removed from the fruit’s inedible pulp. The convenience was a plus, but as a cost-conscious consumer, pre-prepared fruit is rarely worth the cost.

So I was pretty pumped when I heard about the best pomegranate preparation trick ever: the secret underwater pomegranate plucking.

All you have to do to get at that juicy goodness without the ensuing mess is:

  • Quarter or halve your pomegranate fruit
  • Fill a bowl with water
  • Submerge the quarter or half of fruit
  • Dig the arils out of the pulp under the water using your fingers

Voilà! You’ve got your own pack of pomegranate seeds at a fraction of the cost. The pulp and the mess stays submerged and you emerge with this fabulous fruit.

For not much work, pomegranates pack a nutritional punch. A one-half cup of arils pomegranate serving provides 72 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C (14% daily value).

Like all fruit – you’re better served to eat your pomegranates than drink them. Don’t waste your time on pomegranate juice. Most commercial pomegranate “juice” contains more apple juice than actual pomegranates, not to mention that you forfeit the fiber when you extract its juice.

For a super fast supper feast, try out this pomegranate kale salad recipe:

Pomegranate Kale Salad

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chopped baby kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils (about 2 pomegranates)
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In salad serving bowl, massage chopped baby kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 30 seconds.
  2. Add pomegranate arils, diced cucumber and goat cheese crumbles to kale.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk remaining olive oil with pomegranate vinegar, dijon mustard and citrus juice.
  4. Add dressing to salad, season with salt and pepper and serve

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 275
  • Protein 10 g
  • Carbohydrate 39 g
  • Fat 12 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.5 g
  • Fiber 11 g

 

 

Clean Fuel for Your Workout

3 Aug

Clean Fuel for Your Workout

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was paid to represent the brands featured in the blog post and the associated TV segment.

We are less than 2 weeks away from the 38th running of the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. Over 8,000 runners are getting geared up to complete the scenic 13.1 mile course throughout San Diego.

If you’re training for the AFC half – or any distance athletic event – you need to fuel your workout and recovery properly. Here are a few of my tips for filling up with clean fuel:

Pre-Workout Routine with Carb & Protein

  • The key to fueling your pre-workout meals and snacks is to combine carbohydrate for fuel with a little protein for your endurance
  • I love combining a banana and LARABAR as a great pre workout snack. LARABARs are a convenient and simple fuel perfect for any lifestyle: they’re gluten-free, paleo, vegan, non-GMO, whole…you name it!
  • LARA fruit and nut bars come in 20 flavors, all of which have 9 ingredients or less. My personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Cookie flavor which has just 3 ingredients: dates, peanuts, and sea salt – that’s it
  • You can pick up LARABARS at most health-minded retailers, or from their online store at larabar.com.

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Hydrating the Healthy Way

  • We can’t talk about summer running without mentioning hydration. I’m not a huge fan of straight water all the time, so I’m always on the lookout for tasty, healthier sports drinks
  • BODYARMOR is one of my current favorites – it’s a new, natural sports drink that has more potassium-packed electrolytes and vitamins than any other sports drink; plus it contains coconut water for an added kick
  • There’s no artificial ingredients in BODYARMOR, which makes it a great option for younger athletes who don’t need all of the extra sodium and artificial ingredients found in other sports drink
  • You can find BODYARMOR in 7 delicious flavors at local retailers or online at shop.drinkbodyarmor.com

 

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DIY Recovery Smoothie

  • For recovery, timing is key. You want to get your body refueled ASAP to help replenish vital nutrients and energy lost during your workout. A good goal is to aim to consume at least 300 calories within 30 minutes of completing your run
  • Another rule of thumb is to combine carbohydrate (for glycogen replenishment) with protein (for muscle repair) in a 4:1 ratio for your recovery snack
  • I love to make my own recovery smoothie – check out this easy recipe that fits the 300 calorie, 4:1 ratio

DIY Berry Banana Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 oz nonfat berry-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 frozen banana

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency

Nutrition Information

  • 290 calories
  • 60 grams carbohydrate
  • 15 grams protein
  • 1 g fat
  • 6.5 g dietary fiber
  • 135 mg sodium

For more information on clean fuel for your workout, check out my segment on San Diego Living today.

Cereal Fiber Beats Back Diabetes Risk

2 Jun

Cereal Fiber Beats Back Diabetes Risk

If you need yet another reason to get your fiber on – a new study shows cereal fiber can help keep diabetes at bay.

A study published last week in the journal Diabetologia showed that not only does dietary fiber help fight type 2 diabetes risk, but it also helps lower Body  Mass Index (BMI) and keeps weight down.

The study was a meta-analysis which looked at data from over 350,000 subjects from 18 countries followed for over 10 years. Results showed that participants who ate 26 grams of fiber per day were 18 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who ate 19 or less grams of fiber per day.

To put that in perspective, the typical American only eats 16 grams of fiber per day, so 26 grams is a pretty fierce fiber bump.

In this particular study, cereal fiber was shown to be particularly effective, more so than fruit or vegetable fiber.

One of the best ways to get cereal fiber is to consume whole grains.

And while you’re at it, focus on your ABC’s: amaranth, buckwheat or barley, and corn – some great whole grain options that can easily work their way into your morning meal.

For more tips on getting your whole grains, check out these recipes from the Whole Grain Council.

Sneaky Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

26 Nov

Sneaky Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

Did you know that the typical Thanksgiving dinner contains more than 3,000 calories?

Since you probably want to indulge in dessert without overdoing it this year, here are some sneaky tips for satisfying your sweet tooth without breaking your calorie budget:

Swap in Sweetpotatoes

A sweetpotato (which is all 1 word!) is an entirely different vegetable than a potato, with its own set of nutrients:

  • The sweetness of sweet potatoes comes out when you bake them – consider swapping in mashed sweet potato in place of fat and sugar in your baked goods
  • 1 sweet potato contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin A needs
  • For some great dessert recipe ideas featuring sweetpotatoes, check out the California Sweetpotato recipe page at http://www.casweetpotatoes.com/recipes/ (my favorites are the Sweetpotato Oatmeal Cookies and Sweetpotato Lava Cake)

Raisin the Bar with Your Baked Goods

Another way to liven up your holiday desserts is to put a healthy spin on traditional favorites. I do this by incorporating raisins in my desserts.

Raisins are awesome to bake with, because as a dried fruit, they come by their sweetness naturally:

For more info on Sneaky Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts, check out my segment on Good Morning San Diego from earlier this week.

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Special thanks to California Sweetpotatoes and California Raisins for providing recipes and sponsoring the above segment.

California Avocado Recipe Contest Winner: Avocado Berry Gelee

6 Aug

California Avocado Recipe Contest Winner: Avocado Berry Gelee

Congratulations to Roxanne Chan of Albany, CA for winning the Fiber is the Future & California Avocado Commission’s Recipe Contest!

Roxanne’s recipe submission is for an Avocado Berry Gelee, an innovative use of avocados in an easy-to-prepare and beautifully displayed summertime dessert.

Avocado Berry Gelee

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe but slightly firm California avocado, peeled, pitted, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tbsp blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp raspberries
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp minced candied ginger
  • Lime zest and berries for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine the grated avocado, berries and lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the orange juice in a separate, small microwavable dish; let soften 1-2 minutes then microwave 10 seconds on high or until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Stir in the avocado and berry mixture along with the ginger.
  • Pour into a 4 cup mold and refrigerate till the gelee sets up, approximately 1-2 hours.
  • To serve: unmold onto a serving dish, garnish and serve.

Congratulations again to Roxanne and to all of the other contest entrants.

For more great California Avocado recipes, click here.