Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Taste of Summer Series: Coconuts

Image result for coconut in water   

Hey Guys
  We are one day away from summer officially beginning! I do not know about you but I am excited for more beach days, water parks and bbq's. I know summer 2017 will be a memorable one. 

   This week coconut is our focal point in our Taste of Summer Series. Scientist have yet to discover where this fruit originated but are still doing research; in examining this study I found a palm scientist named Odoardo Beccar who "suggests that the coconut is of Old World origin and more than likely came from the Indian Archipelago or Polynesia". Made up of three layers the exocarp (the green shell), mesocarp (surrounds woody layer), and endocarp (layer surrounding the seed). Typically when purchased at grocery stores the exocarp and mesocarp are removed leaving the endocarp also know as the woody layer exposed. This peculiar fruit is technically under three types of classifications a seed, a drupe and a nut.
Image result for coconut water

   Many are familiar with coconut water and its mild naturally sweet taste, however some do not know that the water is a wonderful help to those with diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels due to the glucose amount in the seed water. It is also a good source of rehydration second to water, having lots of potassium, dietary fiber plus the water comes straight from the seed of the fruit. I must mention that coconut oil is excellent for skin and hair; being antimicrobial, antifungal and a great moisturizer on it's own. I personally use it on both myself every day and attribute my soft moisturized hair and skin to coconut oil. Another fun fact is that the white inner layer also known as white meat can be eatten raw, toasted, dried, sweetened or creamed to make coconut milk. 

   Unfortunately, with the good there is also bad. Contrary to popular belif coconuts have little vitamin and mineral content; also it has the highest saturated fat attributes of all fruit/seed oils. My recommendations are using coconut oil for food maybe twice a week, opting more for olive oil or safflower oil. Additionally, limit drinking the water on a consistent basis. 

 Hopefully, you have gained new information on cocnut, cocnut water and cocnut oil in the this series, see you next week.

As always,
 Bon Mangè

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Taste of Summer Series

Happy June!

We are half way through the year! How are your goals coming along?  If not so great remember that it's never too late to begin or get back on the wagon. But for now, let's enjoy the beautiful season change from spring to summer. This includes sunny days, warm summer nights, many activities outside and of course luscious fruits. One of them being Mangos.

Mangos are a delicious, sweet, tart and juicy fruit. Native to the Caribbean; Haiti in particular, Latin America, India and some parts of Asia. Found in many fresh markets across the states, there is an array of bright colors and shapes to be seen of this fruit. Most popular being bright yellow, green, orange flesh. This fruit is high in Vitamins A & C, and also has a high dosage of beta carotene. Helping the absorption of vitamin A in the body, containing antioxidants to fight cancer, slow aging and detoxing your system.

 Most of the mangos imported into the United States are from Mexico, Central America, and Haiti. The Haitian mango better known as The Francine is very popular and in demand everywhere for its sweet taste and firm texture. They are especially desired in the summer months. This mango pictured below has a green & orange color on the outside with a sweet yet firm texture on the inside. Grown in the months of April to July with June and July being peak season. It is especially great with chutneys, smoothies and as a quick snack.

Image result for the francine mango
Photo Credit: thepacker.com
A quick way to incorporate this fruit into your diet this summer is adding it to salsas, using it with other seasonal fruits for a smoothie, eating it raw, making a fruit salad or following any of the recipes below.

Mexican Appetizer & Snack: Sliced fresh mangos topped with cilantro, and chili powder

Haitian Smoothie: Freshly sliced mangos, freshly sliced papaya, almond milk, sugar, and blend

Indian Dessert: Fresh mangos pureed, yogurt curd, cardamom, sugar, blended chilled and served

As Always,
 Bon Mange

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wellness Spotlight: Cabbage

Image result for cabbage in water
Google: Napa Cabbage

Hey Guys,
 It has been a while since I have given the spotlight to a vegetable or fruit that I deem as super. To end the month I will be giving this special shout out to cabbage. I know what your thinking cabbage? really? But wait till you see the benefits of consuming such a bright  (sometimes) green vegetable.Here is my countdown of top five reasons we should appreciate and eat more cabbage in all forms. 

5. High In Vitamins & Nutrients 
 Cabbage is a vegetable found in many parts of the world. This vegetable was made popular in the Eastern region of the Mediterranean during the time of Rome's rain in power. It was also a stable food for families with little money as it was cheap and easy to grow.  Full of Vitamin C, K, folacin, and fiber this vegetable helps your cells and body regulate its function, causing a healthier you. 

4. Red, Savoy, Napa, Bok choy...
Image result for january king cabbage
January King Cabbage
   January King, choy sum, Portugal are just a few of the vast varieties of cabbage available on planet earth. Each has a distinctive color and flavor, that are known about. Take the Portugal cabbage for instance (pictured below) is only typically found in the Mediterranean and also used for soups. January King cabbage is bright purple and green, typically found in the winter, is best served grilled or roasted. Bok choy, on the other hand, are found in many Asian dishes inclusive of stir fry, soups and as appetizers. 
Image result for portugal cabbage
Portugal Cabbage
Image result for bok choy
Bok Choy

3.Cancer Hates Cabbage
 The glucosinolate found in cruciferous vegetables (vegetables rich in nutrients) can help fight cancer causing cells in the body through regular consumption. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties called flavonoids. This ingredient alone helps the body fight any abnormally sized cells or swelling in any area of the body, while shrinking cancer cells. Also as mentioned before being high in fiber, it will help the inside of your body get rid of toxic waste and cells. A healthy body helps you fight any abnormalities, flus, and colds. So next time you feel congested instead of taking OTC medication try increasing consumption of cabbage.

2. Healthy Digestion
 Bubble guts? upset stomach? inconsistent bowels? bloated? After years of eating red meats, poultry, processed foods, sugar and the like, our stomach lining as humans may get overwhelmed with natural bacteria. The bacteria is not the problem as it is supposed to be there, however, it can grow to become too much for the stomach lining causing problems. Cabbage naturally has antioxidants, amino -acids and glutamine a nutrient that helps digestive health and brain function. I suggest adding Kimchi to your eating plan, a popular Korean dish with cabbage that will help with gut health because of the fermentation process that takes place. 

1. Hydration & Detoxification
As a cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is naturally made of 90% water. The leaves and stalks are made up of water. Water, as we know, is a natural body cleanser and maintains balance. Drinking a few glasses a day hydrates skin, hair, nails, stomach and keeps blood flowing in every area. Adding cabbage to soups, or dishes also helps detox the liver, which has an important job of regulating sugar, blood, protein and fat that enters the blood stream. 

I hope these top five reasons persuade you to increase the intake of cabbage. I am not a doctor or medical professional, discuss all nutrition health and recommendations with a doctor.

As always,
   Bon Mangé

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Four Steps to Reversing Low Iron

Image result for  iron body

Hey Guys,
       Have you ever been out with friends or in a car  with someone and started shivering out of no where? How about at home and the temperature is 70 degrees, and notice your hands and feet are cold? What about fatigue? Weakness? Shortness of breath? These are a few signs of Low Iron or Deficiency Anemia.  Low Iron occurs when the body is not receiving enough oxygen to the cells and tissues which causes the symptoms listed above.  I have experienced these symptoms and a few others while dealing with low Iron, and after some research I have composed four steps to aid in reversing and maintaining Iron levels.

                                                                         Go to The Doctor 

The first step to reversing Low Iron is going to see a doctor. A doctor's office is the best place to to get a clear answer on your symptoms. In addition they would be able to clarify if in fact you do have low iron or another issue causing your body to give you theses signs. Blood work results do not take long at all, you'll have the result ready in about a week. 
              Eat More Iron producing foods

Step two is eating natural iron enriched foods. There's a good amount of natural food choices that aid with the reversing of Low Iron, many of which can be found in your produce and meat aisle. Iron keeps your body strong enough to fight everything that would hinder its purpose. Red meat is usually the first option recommended by most medical professionals; however for those who are vegetarian or vegan there are many options for you as well.  A few of the best food sources for increasing iron levels are 
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, Kale 
  • Beans: Kidney, Garbanzo, lentils
  • Whole Grains: Quinoa, Bulgar. Rice
  • Beef : Liver
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Raw Beets (juice form fine as well) 
  • Foods high in Vitamin C 
            Take Daily Supplements 

Step three includes choosing a type of supplement. There are tons on the market inclusive of tablets, gummies, plant based and synthetic variations. The key is to find one that works well for you.  After that has been established be sure to drink plenty of water while consuming the supplement to better help with overall body absorption into your system. A popular supplement recommended to people with Low Iron is Iron (Fe) >50 mg.  Though  taking Iron (Fe) has great effects in helping the body operate more efficiently with this missing element; it is known to cause constipation. There is not much to help with this symptom, however I recommend taking a glass of water before and while taking the supplement to ease the effects. Another tip is intaking more fruits and vegetables which naturally help with digestion as well. 

Avoid Iron Blocking Foods

Finally, there is so much food in the market that are tasty and delicious but are bad for those who are trying to increase and reverse Iron levels; many of which we eat daily in the American diet. I am not recommending that you completely remove these foods from your diet, however if you decrease the intake I know that you will feel a difference in your body as a whole. I challenge you to try to remove these foods for a week and see if you notice a change in your system. The following foods are known to block and/ or prevent absorption of Iron intake : 
  • Dairy 
  • Carbonated Sodas & Sugary Drinks 
  • Coffee and Black Teas 

I hope that these tips and suggestions help in your journey to a healthier Iron balanced whole you. Let me know if you have decided to put them into practice. 

   As always
     Bon mangé 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

To Naples I Go

Hello Guys!
  I hope your thanksgiving was filling and that you spent the day with loved ones. Its the perfect time to reflect on all the good things that has happened this year; even if its something we take for granted like waking up each morning. Since we are in that grateful season, I wanted to share how thankful I am for opportunities to travel and spend time with friends that I have not seen in a few years.

 In the pass few months I have been in busy with transitioning to a new place, a new job and the endeavor that coincides with such a task. So when an old college friend contacted me about participating in a quick get away with a few more friends I was ecstatic to participate and take a much needed break from the everyday norm. My friend already had her sight set on Naples, Florida. a beautiful, opulent, town near the Gulf of Mexico.

The 3 & 1/2 hr drive to Naples was long and draining but once we arrived the mood quickly changed to more of an easy going and relaxed feel. You can feel the breeze of the Gulf in every movement; a perfect escape with palm trees on every block and smiling faces at every turn. Our first stop was The Riverwalk Restaurant in Tin City, a ocean front dinning place with fresh mahi, grouper, shrimp, and additional choices of seafood. I recommend outside seating, as the view of the yachts and boats on the river is spectacular. I ordered the Grouper sandwich topped with creole remoulade with a side of fries, it was pretty good however lacked much seasoning. Right next door was the ever popular boardwalk, with luxury boats of all sizes and themes, open to the public as well as free to roam.. I must also mention there were two French restaurants, an art store front and a pizza place in the same area, all with eye catching themes and within walking distance from each other.

A recommended must to do in Naples is thrifting, even if its not your usual pastime, while
in a different city you will be surprise by the unique and rare items that can be discovered. If that  alone does not sell you trying on some old fashioned clothing items with friends will do the trick. I guarantee that it will be an adventure. The one we went to was called The Thrift Store address: 1115 Airport Rd S, Naples.

To conclude our amazing trip we took a stunning sunset cruise with Pure Naples Boat company, thanks to Groupon. I would recommend this everyone as it was the peak of our trip. We sailed off at 4p.m. towards the Golf of Mexico to watch the sunset. Inclusive of the trip was tours of the luxurious quarters of  Marco Island, Port Royal, the lovely mansions in those zones, as well as dolphin sightings in their natural habitat. To say it was memorable is an understatement, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The combination of extraordinarily large homes, exquisite backyards, water front properties the gulf breeze, laughter plus dolphins made the sunset experience even sweeter.

All in all Naples Florida, is a relaxing weekend getaway destination. I hope my trip inspires you to travel plan and engage in a weekend getaway of your own.

Bon Manjè.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lemon Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Hey Guys,
  Tis the season for starchy vegetables! It is now September and Autumn is soon to arrive. I am anticipating a real Autumn and Winter here in Orlando so I will be planning and preparing foods in excitement. Which brings me to my current dish Lemon Roasted Potatoes and Chicken.

 An easy dish that is filling and quick so if your a busy mom or a struggling college student it is one in the same. Might I add that this is a bright and delicious light meal perfect for dinner or lunch.
 The recipe goes as follows:

  • 2lbs Raw Chicken Thighs (skin on)
  • 8-9 Cubed Potatoes 
  • 1/2c Oil 
  • Salt & Pepper 
  • 2 Garlic Clove 
  • 2-3 Lemons sliced 
 In a bowl toss cubed potatoes, salt, pepper, smashed garlic toss & 1/4c oil. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes in a baking dish then in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then toss the potatoes to evenly coat them and add 1/2 of the lemon slices. 
Chicken:  In a bowl add rinsed chicken, salt and pepper, making sure the skin is well coated. On the stove top take a pan and heat up a 1/2c of oil, add garlic till fragrant then remove, place chicken in pan skin side down. When skin is crispy, add to the pan with potatoes under the oven and finish cooking for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest. 

Feel Free to squeeze a more lemon on top when finish. 

I hope this simple meal satisfies you as it did me. 

 Bon Manje

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Tenderizing Savage

Image result for kiwi
Photo Credit: Google

Hi Guys! 
 Summer is in full effect this time of year, here in Florida temperatures are hitting the low 100's can you believe that! I'm petrified for the rest of July and the month of August, with that being said summer welcomes an even bigger reason to eat nourishing and colorful fruit that are in season and refreshing. This summer I will share a few tips and recipes to stay cool with invigorating fruits and dishes, starting with Kiwi. 

 Kiwi a bright green fruit that is tart and full of little black seeds. This fruit is nutritious and full of Vitamin C, perfect for brightening skin effortlessly. It's an egg shaped fuzzy fruit introduced to the world through New Zealand in the early 1900's from China. Today New Zealand and California are the biggest producers, although the most appetizing one comes from New Zealand. 

Kiwi's can easily be added to salads, oatmeal, shakes and as a garnish. What many people don't know is that this little fruit is also a great meat tenderizer. The enzyme in the fruit called actinidin breaks down the tissue of tough meat without altering the flavor. the rule of thumb is a little goes a long way. 

Here is marinade that can be used for short ribs or any tough cut of meat:
 The recipes goes as follows:  
  •  2lbs Short Ribs 
  •  3 Garlic cloves smashed and minced
  • 1/2c Soy Sauce 
  • 3Tbs Brown Sugar 
  • 1/2 c Scallions thinly sliced 
  • Salt & Pepper 
  • 1/2 Kiwi peeled, put in food processor 
  • 1Tbs Sesame Seed oil 
  • 1Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
 In a bowl add garlic, oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, kiwi scallions, pepper flakes and whisk, taste for flavor then add meat. Marinate minimum 5hrs maximum 24hrs .
Cook off however you like grill, broil bake or fry 

Hopefully you like this twist to marinating as much as I do! 
 As Always, 
   Bon Manjé