Tag: healthy living

Tangy-Zesty Striped Bass with Dasheen Leaves and Asparagus

Two weekends in a row now, my trip to Salem, MA has been foiled, so to commemorate my dismay, I’ve decided to prepare a dish that I probably would’ve eaten, had I been there.

Striped Bass is native to the Northeast, specifically New England. Living out there by the water means everything to most of the population and so, fishing is a common thing. Striped Bass is plentiful just as much as Lobsters are in this region. Rather than using a well-known Striped Bass Recipe, which the Internet is saturated with, I decided to do my own thing, but still incorporating the basics when it comes to preparing fish. Here’s the list:

2 5oz Striped Bass Steaks
1 Orange
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Dill
1/2 Tsp Cilantro
1/2 Tsp Parsley
1/2 Tsp minced Onion
1/2 Tsp Garlic n’ Herbs
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted Butter

Preparation: mix all seasonings together in a dish first then after cleaning your fish, simply place it into the mixture. Toss it around for a bit, making sure to coat the entire fish then cover your dish and refrigerate overnight. Don’t worry about your fish drying out, it won’t! Next day, remove fish from refrigerator, place skillet on low to medium fire, add butter to the pan and then begin adding your fish. Once your fish is in, immediately add about a 1/4 cup of water, so the butter doesn’t dry up before the fish is cooked. Cover your pan and let fish cook for about 20 minutes on each side before turning it over. Tip: always remember that the steam from the pan is crucial to perfectly cooked fish. When the pan begins to dry down then you’ll know your fish is ready!

1 lbs Dasheen leaves
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Garlic n’ Herbs
1 Pinch Black Pepper

Tip: Dasheen leaves are very large, so I advise that you cut it into smaller pieces in order for it to fit into your pot. Add 1.5 cups of water to a small pot, put it to boil on low fire and while it’s boiling, go ahead and prep your Dasheen leaves. Wash the leaves out before cutting then once you’re finished, add it to your pot along with the other ingredients. Stir to mix it all in and continue stirring occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or until it has completely broken down into a “soupy” mixture. *Add more water if needed*

1/2 bunch Asparagus
1 Pinch Salt
1/4 Tsp Olive oil
1 dash Garlic n’ Herbs

Wash asparagus and place them into pan (break them into two if your pan isn’t large enough) then add your ingredients along with 1/2 ounce of water. Toss asparagus around making sure to mix everything together then let it steam for about 7-10 minutes. Once everything is cooked, serve as usual. Enjoy!

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Simple and Delicious Shepard’s Pie

We each have our favorite memories and things we’d love to recreate from our college years, and for me, that memory is having Shepard’s Pie for dinner with my then, closest friends. It was the energy of chattering BFF’s chowing down on loaded mashed potatoes while side-eyeing the day’s man crush. Yum!

Shepard’s pie is native to the Northern United Kingdom, specifically Scotland, where pies were created with leftover lamb and vegetables. When the Irish began to make their own, ground beef quickly became a staple for this delicious pie and it brought a whole new meaning to “meat and potatoes.” A couple days ago I tried making it for the first time and it was delightful! My qualm with the store-bought kinds is that there’s never enough seasoning and this was what I kept in mind while prepping for the dish. It’s hearty, easy to prepare, and will impress your mother, so take a chance and make your own!

Ingredients:

2 large russet potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

12 oz. frozen corn kernels

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 stick of butter

Beef:

Heat skillet, add olive oil then beef along with ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. parsley, and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Cook until meat is brown then remove from skillet and add to baking dish.

Corn:

Place frozen corn directly on top of ground beef in baking dish.

Mashed Potatoes:

Wash and dry potatoes then cut into medium sized pieces (with skin on). Fill a pot with water then add potatoes; make sure that the water covers the potatoes and let boil on low/medium setting until potatoes are tender (about 25 mins). Once potatoes are finished cooking, pour out any remaining water from the pot then add the butter to the potatoes and using a potato masher, begin to soften and mix potatoes together with butter. After you’re finished mashing potatoes, add the remaining parsley, salt, black pepper, and garlic then continue mixing ingredients together. When you’re finished mixing, layer mashed potatoes on top of corn creating a crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees then insert baking dish with pie. Allow it to cook for about an hour. When it’s ready, remove it and let dish cool then serve warm. Feeds about 5. Enjoy!

Summer Salad Recipe

A few days ago, my partner brought me the best tasting salad I’ve ever had. It was a combination of the fresh greens and herbs used to put this delicious salad together that made it so delightful. Anyway, it costs a whopping $10 from Greek Eats in Manhattan, and although it was beautifully prepared, there’s no way I’d advise anyone on purchasing this salad on the regular. Being as frugal as we are, we decided to create our very own Summer Greek Salad. It’s nutritious and quite inexpensive, plus you’ll be able to have more than one meal and it’s a one-stop shop at any supermarket. Take it to your next family barbecue, enjoy it for lunch or simply snack on it when you get the munchies. Regardless of the occasion, it’ll surely be enjoyed. Now grab a pen and create your shopping list!

Ingredients

1 Whole Cucumber

15 Grape tomatoes

1/4 1 Whole Red onion

2 Haas Avocados

20 Green and red olives

2 Handfuls Spring mix salad

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 Tsp. Apple cider vinegar

1 Pinch Salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. Crumbled feta cheese

1 Pinch Black pepper

1/4 Tsp. Italian blend herbs

Directions

*Always make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.*

After thoroughly washing your cucumber, tomatoes and onions, start peeling your cucumber and onion then cut them into bite sized pieces, along with the tomatoes. Put them aside into the bowl you’re using to toss it all together. Then begin cutting up your avocados, olives and spring mix, put them into the same salad bowl then begin adding your condiments. Throw in your feta cheese then your olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, and then your Italian blended herbs. Mix everything together and then serve. Feeds four! To add more protein to the mix, feel free to boil 2-3 eggs, cut it up once again and then add it to your already, deliciously healthy salad. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Hypothyroidism and its Effects on the Mind and Body

Ever felt tired just because? Or maybe you’ve noticed your mind drifting off more than normal? Or your friends are more prone to confessing their deepest secrets to you because well, you have no memory? Are you moody and not just during your menstrual cycle? Maybe your blood flow is heavier than before and your abdominal bloat feels worse than previous months? Stubborn fat that won’t reduce no matter how much you workout? Perhaps your body has a tough time regulating your Basal Body Temperature? Well, sorry to say, but you might have a thyroid condition, more specifically, Hypothyroidism.

The thyroid gland produces hormones, which is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. It’s a very small butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of the lower part of the neck, which secretes hormones that directly affects every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. When the thyroid gland becomes sluggish and stops producing hormones, the process is known as Hypothyroidism. There are many symptoms associated with the disease, including weight gain, memory loss, depression, and fatigue. According to the American Thyroid Association, “More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.” The numbers might seem small or irrelevant to some, but just think that you too, could be one of these sufferers. Patients with undiagnosed thyroid disease are at risk of developing “Cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.” It’s estimated that roughly 20 million Americans are currently battling some form of the disease, with women being “Five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, [that’s one in eight women and] up to 60 percent [of them] are unaware of their condition.” Some people unknowingly suffer for many years prior to a diagnosis and that’s usually because it only shows up when a patient’s thyroid hormone level is at its lowest, and just having symptoms alone isn’t enough for most doctors to make a proper diagnosis. In fact, a lot of doctors misdiagnose patients due to the fact that your thyroid level could inaccurately place you in the normal range. On the flip side, another type of thyroid disease is known as Hyperthyroidism, which happens when the thyroid produces more than enough hormones, leading to weight loss, anxiety and a host of other conditions.

There are several known causes of thyroid disease, however certain foods and lifestyle choices can also influence the thyroid by either elevating or decreasing hormone levels. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “Hypothyroidism [can be caused by] Hashimoto’s disease, thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid, congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is present at birth, surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid, radiation treatment of the thyroid [and] some medicines.” Having a pituitary disease can also affect the thyroid, as well as the amount of iodine in one’s body. While there are several causes, there isn’t much you can do to fight the disease. Doctors may prescribe a synthetic or natural thyroid hormone, which some people end up needing for the rest of their lives and you can also watch out for, and stay away from foods that irritate the thyroid. Because the thyroid depends on iodine for optimal health, foods like kelp and seaweed are highly recommended, and in addition, foods rich in selenium like eggs, salmon, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, and turkey are also helpful when battling hypothyroidism. Always remember to consult with your medical provider before starting a new regimen and keep in mind that there are also side effects from having too much of a good thing, so always check with your doctor.

In the case of Terry Doria, of Queens, NY, thyroid symptoms didn’t start showing up until about two months prior to her diagnosis, at age 24. Although she was slightly overweight, Terry was still a fit and active young woman, whose hypothyroidism was caused by the autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s disease, which causes the immune system to attack the thyroid. I’ve had a chance to speak with Terry about her condition and here’s an excerpt from our conversation.

When I asked about the symptoms she experienced, Terry said, “I was diagnosed 26 years ago [and it happened] because I wasn’t sleeping, it had been several weeks and I felt off. My original General Practitioner wanted me to go to a sleep clinic as opposed to taking my blood. About a month and a half to two months later, my OB/GYN introduced me to a new General Practitioner, who I saw a few days later. He took my blood and prescribed me with Ambien to regulate my sleep. I took it twice and was able to start a normal sleep cycle. When the blood work came back, it showed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis-an autoimmune thyroid condition that causes hypothyroidism. My other symptoms included lethargy, brain fog, muscle cramps, and a change in my menstruation.”

I then asked about the medications she uses to manage her condition and whether or not they were helping, and so she said, “The doctor [previously] prescribed synthetic thyroid replacement medicine, [but] I’m currently on natural thyroid hormone replacement medication, [and it’s] something I’ll be on for the rest of my life. There aren’t any side effects with the natural thyroid hormone medication, however, the synthetic forms did not do what it was intended to do. I’m also taking vitamin and mineral supplements as the Hashimoto’s blocks absorption of many.”

I followed up with Terry on how her life has been affected throughout the years with her hypothyroidism diagnosis, and she responded by saying, “My life has been drastically altered. Before the condition, I was fit, a bit overweight, muscular and active, [but] thanks to the many doctors not listening to my symptoms and [then] continually prescribing the synthetic thyroid hormone medication, I am currently overweight, lethargic and pre-diabetic. The natural thyroid hormone medication has helped a lot with the muscle cramps and brain fog.”

As Terry continued to discuss her struggles with getting a proper diagnosis, she mentioned that doctors usually go with the TSH level, which in most cases isn’t a good indicator for determining whether or not someone has hypothyroidism. “It took forever to get a doctor to do my T3 levels and reverse T3.” If you’re like Terry and are going through this process, be sure to educate yourself on the different tests, so you can accurately point your doctor in the right direction to ensure an expedited diagnosis. In the meantime, limit your intake of non-friendly thyroid foods such as gluten, cruciferous vegetables, dark greens, sweets and soy products, and your thyroid will thank you.

Because the body needs our thyroid for optimal health, it is even that much more important to do all that we can to protect it. Recently, Shark Tank’s, Daymond John, opened up to ABC’s “Good Morning America” about his stage two thyroid cancer diagnosis in which he revealed, “A nodule about the size of a marble was found on his thyroid in March 2016 during a checkup. Surgeons removed half of his thyroid and had the nodule biopsied, at which point it revealed that he had stage two thyroid cancer.” Thankfully he’s doing better and is now able to share his story in an effort to help others to be more proactive when it comes to his or her health. John knew it would be challenging, but didn’t let it stop him from taking control of his health, “If I would attack it now, then I wouldn’t have let it attack me and I had that removed.” Below, you’ll find some helpful links to additional hypothyroidism facts. Be well and take good care of each other.

Recipe: Spicy Herb Lamb with Saffron Rice

There’s a special feeling you get whenever you’ve managed to concoct a meal with little to no direction. It isn’t celebratory, it’s a “man, I’d love to share this delicious dish with someone else besides my family” kind of feeling. This was how I felt after preparing this recipe and I hope you get the chance to do so.

What you’ll need:

3 lbs. Boneless lamb shoulder

1-2 cups “Par Excellence” Yellow Rice with Saffron

1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp. Greek yogurt

2 tablespoon Olive oil

Seasonings:

1 tbsp. Turmeric

1 tbsp. Garlic powder

1 tbsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Black pepper

1 tbsp. Salt

1 tbsp. Cayenne pepper

Herbs:

1/4 Yellow pepper

6-8 cloves Garlic

1/2 Yellow onion

Cilantro

3 stems chopped Thyme

Parsley

1 stem chopped Rosemary

3 leaves chopped Mint

1 stem chopped Green onions

While attempting to emulate certain traditions of Ramadan, I decided to cook some lamb while still incorporating my love of Spanish rice and so, my intuition lead me straight to this delightful meal. I made sure to cube my boneless lamb shoulder first and then, to really make sure it’s cleaned well, I washed it in some apple cider vinegar laced water. That way, you cut out some of the aftertaste most people complain about. Personally, I’m not fazed by it. Anyway, once you’ve cut and cleaned your meat the next step is to properly season it. I used a combination of turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Once I’ve added the spices, I proceeded to massage it all into the meat making sure to coat each piece. Then I put it aside on the counter to rest for about 10 minutes and after the time was up, I added Greek yogurt and tomato paste to the mix and once again, I made sure to coat every piece of lamb.

When my meat was all seasoned and ready to be added to the pan, I added half teaspoon of olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the bottom, then I went ahead and threw in all of my herbs: yellow peppers, garlic, onions, cilantro, thyme, parsley, rosemary, mint and green onions. I made sure to dice the herbs before putting it into the pan, and then I added my seasoned lamb along with two and a half cups of water. On very low heat, I left it to cook for about an hour and a half, still stirring occasionally. Once it started bubbling, I moved on to the rice, which is relatively very easy to prepare.

Rice:

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First, I added two and a half cups of water to a medium sized pot on low-medium heat, and then I added one and a half tablespoons of olive oil to the water. I left it to boil for about 10 minutes before adding the rice (this way allows the pot to form a nice coating in order to keep the rice from burning). Once the water comes to a boil, add two or more cups of rice according to the number of people you’re cooking for and remember that you can add more water to the pot as you see fit. Some people like their rice firmer than others, which is why I highly recommend tasting your rice in order to get your desired firmness. I prefer my rice to be a little softer, therefore I taste it often and add water as needed. Tip: if your rice is sill too firm for your liking, cover the pot all the way and let it steam for a few more minutes instead of adding more water. Typically, this rice will be cooked within 35 minutes. Salad choice is all up to you, as for me, I chose spring mix. Dish feeds up to six. Enjoy!