Month: July 2020

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 people
 
Ingredients:
1 Mason jar
¼ cup lemon juice 
¾ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon of pepper 
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 cans of low-sodium garbanzo beans
15 cherry tomatoes (equivalent to 1 cup halved)
1 cup of peeled and chopped cucumber (skin can be left on if desired)
1/2 cup chopped or sliced red onion
1/2 package of mint leaves (chiffonade; equivalent to about 1/3 cup)
1 cup of cubed feta cheese (use low moisture, part skim if available)

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar, combine ¾ cup olive oil with ¼ cup lemon juice. Add 2 garlic cloves, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Shake everything together and store it in the refrigerator until use.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans under running water in a colander. Ensure there is no excess water and then place them in a bowl.
  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl.
  4. Peel and chop the cucumber and slice the red onion. Add both to the bowl.
  5. Chiffonade the mint leaves by stacking them on top of one another, rolling them up, then making small cuts with a knife. Add it to the bowl.
  6. Cut the feta cheese into large chunks and add it to the bowl.
  7. Add 1/3 cup of dressing and mix all of the ingredients together until evenly distributed.

Nutritional Benefits

  • This recipe contains ingredients from three different food groups (protein, vegetables, and dairy), making it a well-balanced meal
  • Each 1/2 cup serving provides 6 grams of plant-based protein, which is equivalent to the protein found in 1 oz. of meat. Plant-based protein is free of cholesterol and saturated (unhealthy) fat, making it a healthier alternative to animal protein sources
  • This recipe does not require any heating or cooking methods, making it suitable for all skills levels
  • Garbanzo beans are high in fiber (provide 6 grams/half cup), especially soluble fiber which can help: reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase satiety, and regulate your digestive system. They are also a good source of iron, folate, phosphorus and calcium
  • Cucumbers are low in calories and contain Vitamins K, A, and some antioxidants
  • Mint contains Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight infection as well as promotes eye health. Mint is effective for relieving digestive problems such as upset stomach, indigestion, and nausea
  • Cherry tomatoes contain several antioxidants including: Vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene, which all protect against free radicals, reduce the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers, and promote eye health
  • Red onion is a great way to add flavor to a dish without adding calories, fat, or sodium. They are a good source of Vitamins C, B-6, and manganese, and small amounts of other nutrients and antioxidants

Tips

  • If you cannot find low sodium beans, you can always purchase the regular version. When you rinse and drain the can under cold water, you remove any excess sodium
  • Garbanzo beans can be swapped out for canned or cooked lentils
  • If you are vegan, omit the feta cheese
  • It is important to eat a variety of colored vegetables in order to get a variety of nutrients. You can easily swap out any of the vegetables used for others, just make sure that you have multiple colors represented. I recommend bell peppers in place of tomatoes 
  • Red onions contain a gas that causes eye irritation and tears when cutting. To reduce this, you can chill the onion for 30 minutes and then cup off its top, peel the outer layers and leave the root intact. If you don’t have time to wait 30 minutes, you can set up a desk fan across from your workstation
  • You can add whole-wheat pita, whole grain crackers, or a corn tortilla to the meal for extra fiber, whole grains, and representation of a 4th food group
  • You can add any herbs or spices to the dressing (i.e. thyme, rosemary, oregano) for added flavor

These recipes were developed and are owned by Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. They cannot be published or adapted without permission from the owner. Reposting or sharing must include an acknowledgement of the original recipe owner @elevateyourplate. Please contact elevateyourplatenutrition@gmail.com to be granted permission access for republishing or adaptation.

The Benefits of Taking a Digital Detox

We spend an average of 5.4 hours per day on our mobile devices, 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media, and check our phones up to 63 times daily. If you think this sounds like a lot of screen time, well I hate to break it to you that these statistics don’t even account for the time spent on our TV, computer, tablets, and/or playing video games. What we are dealing with is technology overload!

It is important to establish a healthy relationship with our devices. On one hand, we need them to stay up-to-date with news, connect with friends and family, for entertainment, to learn, to work, and even to read this post. However, on the other hand, too much of it can actually affect our mental and physical health. 

 

Detoxing from technology has several benefits including: 

  1. Stress reduction: We need time for both our minds and bodies to recover from a long day of obligations. Work, school, emails, etc. are stressful enough, so continuing to blend work screen time with entertainment screen time only puts extra stress on our mental state. It is important to detach from our devices after a long day to truly unplug and unwind from the chaos of life. 
  2. Improved posture: We typically sit in a hunched over position when using technology. This can create tension in our neck, spine, hips, and affect our overall posture. Not to mention it puts immense strain on our eyes. Consider making your space ergonomically friendly when working and limit screen time after tasks are completed to give your physical body much needed time to rest and reset.   
  3. Increased time for self-care: By stepping away from your device once business is done, you will free up so much time for other things such as: hobbies, cooking, meditation, reading, and exercise. Dedicating more time for yourself will only bring more happiness into your life.  
  4. Disease prevention & weight control: It is no secret that more screen time = higher likelihood of being above normal weight + having obesity-related diseases. By reducing screen time, you will have more time to move your body and prepare healthier foods. This reduces the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases, while also aids with weight loss and halting the progression of existing disease.
  5. Improved mental health: Have you ever looked at social media, compared yourself with what you see on the screen, and then started to feel bad about yourself? This scenario happens every time we go online and negatively affects our mental well-being. Social media can make us feel lonely, depressed, envious, dissatisfied, and puts a damper on our self-esteem. Remember that many people post filtered versions of themselves on public platforms. So, don’t necessarily assume their life and looks are better than yours, simply based on their posts. 

To help you detox from technology, make a schedule and set a timer. For example, if you have shows you love to watch, schedule a specific time frame to watch them. If you go on social media, set a timer for 30 minutes and then immediately go off your device. Establishing a healthy relationship with technology will help you welcome more happiness into your life, live more in the present, and be more in tune with your mental and physical well-being.

Clean your Mess, Reduce your Stress

Did you know that clearing your physical space free of clutter actually has significant psychological and health benefits? 
 
Multiple studies show a direct correlation between clutter, unfinished projects, and increased cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, regulating metabolism, reducing inflammation, assisting with memory formulation, improving sleep, and helping control salt and water for improved blood pressure regulation. Additionally, research shows that those with a cleaner space have higher activity levels and are more likely to cook healthy meals at home vs. eat out.
 
So, in short, a messy space, piles of clutter, and disorganization = mental chaos, increased stress and anxiety, less physical activity, poor sleep, poor nutrition, and several health implications. 
 
Completing smaller organizing and cleaning tasks can yield a significant amount of mental and physical benefits, so why not start small. Trying to tackle an entire decluttering project can often be a very overwhelming and daunting task. Instead, focus on doing just 20-30 minutes of cleaning per day either a few times per week or daily. Make a small goal of sorting through 1 pile of papers, deep cleaning 1 room, putting your clothes away off of the floor, weeding 1 section of the garden, filing away important documents, selling unwanted items, the list goes on.
 
If you find that your mental health is suffering, start at home with your physical space. A little organizing goes a long way.
 
To share your own decluttering tips, comment below.