October 6th, 2016

8 Clever Hacks for Your Kitchen Appliances

There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.

Cheese Grater

kitchen cooking hacks

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.

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September 1st, 2016

Health benefits of stone-ground tea

DomoTea_2016_Blog

 

matchaDomo stone-ground matcha tea is made with authentic matcha and all-natural vanilla, with no cholesterol and no saturated or trans fats.

Everyone knows about the health benefits of drinking Japanese green tea. But not everyone realizes that matcha tea has an even higher concentration of healthy compounds than regular green tea. Matcha not only tastes great – it’s one of the healthiest drinks you can enjoy.

This stuff is good for you
Did you know that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods reduces damage to cells and biochemicals, and can help fend off disease and aging? Matcha contains as much as 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice, and up to 200 times that of regular green tea. Researchers are also finding that the antioxidants in green tea may help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and control blood pressure. In addition, regular matcha drinkers enjoy a metabolic rate increase of 35-40%. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know that’s a good thing!

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March 3rd, 2016

LD Picks: How Your Slow Cooker Can Change Your Life

Did you know that you have a secret weapon in your kitchen? One thing that will help you make delicious dinners, tasty breakfasts, feasts for game day and impressive treats for your in-laws? You do – it’s called a slow cooker. Here’s our guide to getting that humble appliance out on the counter and making delicious meals for you and your family.

Get Started

how a slow cooker will change your life

Photo: jamieoliver.com

If said slow cooker is still in the box that your mother-in-law dropped it off in, you might need a primer. Slow cookers are super-easy to use, but there are a few things to remember. First of all, slow cooking is…slow. Yes, you can turn the heat up to high and cut the cooking time to four hours or so, but that’s often not the best strategy. Plan ahead! Remember also that if you’re cooking with kidney beans or other dry beans that contain high levels of phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause powerful stomach cramps and nausea, that you need to prepare the beans properly by boiling. A slow cooker will not get hot enough to neutralize the toxin.

Almost everything that will come out of a well-planned slow cooker will be delicious, but there are some basic rules to follow. Brown meat prior to adding to the pot to get a lovely caramelized crust. Don’t peek once things are underway – you’ll only lengthen the cooking time. Don’t add too much liquid. The slow cooker lid will prevent evaporation, so you only need a touch. Also, skip the prime rib and head straight for the chuck; the prime rib won’t stand up well to the long, slow heat.

One last tip – coat the inside of the slow cooker with a small amount of vegetable oil before putting food in there. It makes clean-up a snap.

[More at Jamie Oliver]

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February 25th, 2016

The 12 Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

Cold and flu season is upon us again. Need help finding the foods and drinks that’ll speed your recovery and get you back on your feet? We take care of that.

* * *

The 5 Best Foods For Fighting a Cold

popsicles

Popsicles help you take in fluids—important—and help numb down a sore throat.

Doing battle with a cold means taking in plenty of fluids and as many phlegm-fighting foods as you can. Here are some of the best choices.

  1. Popsicles  The name of the game is hydration. While you’re usually better to eat your fruit than drink it, popsicles provide convenient relief  when you’re sore and congested. Buy the ones made from 100-percent whole fruit—or, better yet, make your own.
  2. Broth-based soups At Vancouver’s popular Solly’s Deli, chicken soup’s nom de guerre is “Jewish penicillin.” Small wonder: Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins mucus in the lungs. And hot broth fights throat inflammation and keeps nasal passages moist.
  3. Citrus fruits While vitamin C isn’t a magic bullet, it aids in reducing the length and strength of colds. An added benefit: lemons and limes, oranges and grapefruits contain flavonoids, which improve immune system function.
  4. Hot tea Take advantage of the natural anti-bacterial properties of tea. We’re fond of a green tea or hot water with  lemon—besides soothing the throat, they keep you hydrated when you’re down for the count.
  5. Spicy foods Hot foods can make our noses run and our eyes water, which is why they’re effective decongestants. Eating chili peppers, wasabi, and horseradish—not all at once!—can light a fire under the body’s natural clearing-out process.

* * *

The 3 Best Foods For a Stomach Flu

bananas

Bland and dense with nutrients, bananas are a boon to the sick.

  1. Bananas Sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea visit the stricken, and all deplete your stores of potassium. Bananas replace it. They’re easy to digest, and replenish lost electrolytes.
  2. Ginger Ginger is a great help in preventing and soothing nausea. Ginger tea or ginger ale—served flat to avoid bubble trouble (i.e., carbonation discomfort)—will keep you hydrated and on an even keel.
  3. Dry toast, crackers Plain, unsalted, or lightly salted crackers and toast are simple, bland foods that go easy on the stomach, promoting digestion and recovery when a flu has you in its grips.

* * *

The 4 Worst Foods for a Stomach Flu

pickled-jalapenos

Pickled jalapenos—yikes. Avoid the acid and spice until you’re feeling better..

  1. Acidic & spicy foods While spicy foods are great decongestants, they can be hard on the stomach. Same goes for fruit from the citrus family, which can irritate sensitive stomachs. See “bananas,” above.
  2. Sweet snacks Sugary foods can suppress the immune system and cause inflammation. Though it’s tempting to treat yourself when you’re feeling low, leave the milkshake or chocolate sundae until you’re feeling better.
  3. Fatty foods Don’t make your gut do double duty. Forgo the burgers and fries in favour of foods that are easier to digest, like simple carbohydrates and proteins.
  4. Dairy products Whether dairy causes greater congestion or simply mimics the sensation is open to debate. Perhaps, though, the point is moot. If the feeling thicker mucus bothers you, it can’t hurt to avoid milk products while you’re sick.

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December 1st, 2015

20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Losing Weight

The idea here—supported by a new report from Switzerland— is that North Americans have been on the wrong diet for 50 years. We’ve been avoiding natural, healthy fats—such as those found in red meat, butter and eggs—to disastrous effect.

Though generally condemned, many natural fats found in food have positive impacts on your body, including increased energy, lower rates of diabetes, and weight loss. Read on to discover the full-fat foods that help you lose from the waist by adding to the plate.  Your diet will never be the same.

  1. Grass-Fed Butter An excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, grass-fed butter helps keep energy levels stable by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and sugar.
  2. Heavy Cream in your Coffee Unlike milk, heavy cream is a healthy fat that keeps blood sugars stable, helping to maintain energy and brainpower. It also has the added effect of neutralizing any negative consequences of caffeine consumption, like the jitters.heavy cream
  3. Whole Milk Although whole milk technically has more calories than its skim counterparts, it is much more filling and may actually crank up your body’s calorie burning centers. In fact, studies have proven that those who drink whole milk are less likely to be obese than other milk drinkers.
  4. Bacon A paleo hit, grab a few slices of full fat pork bacon to up your energy. Packed with protein and heart healthy monounsaturated fats, real bacon can actually be better for you in the long run than its low-cal competitors.
  5. Salad Dressing Skip the raw veggies and add a little dip! Studies show eating a moderate amount of fat with your vegetables helps your body absorb important nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene, which can help fight cancer and improve heart health.
  6. Avocado  A power food, avocados pack protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, and oleic acid, which stops you from feeling hungry. Be sure to limit yourself to a quarter or half of an avocado for proper portion control.
  7. Avocado Oil Good in any format, try avocado oil in your cooking to benefit from those same heart healthy monounsaturated fats!avocado
  8. 4% Yogurt  Loaded with protein, calcium, and probiotics, full fat yogurt is one of the best foods for health and weight loss. An added bonus, yogurts with higher fat content tend to have more protein and less sugar than their leaner versions!
  9. Regular Ice Cream  Besides having extreme levels of sugar, low fat ice creams can sometimes contain propylene glycol, better known as antifreeze. To avoid this toxic mess, choose a small bowl of regular ice cream to satisfy cravings in a natural way.Photo via Flickr user Austin Kirk
  10. Grass-Fed Beef  Grass-fed beef is proven to contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and less calories, making it the tastier, and healthier, steak dinner option.
  11. Regular Mayo Use a little bit of regular mayo to spice up your sandwiches and avoid the added sugars, vegetable oils, and artificial preservatives that get substituted into its low-fat alternatives.
  12. Natural Peanut Butter Natural peanut butter is heavy in healthy monosaturated fats, and tends to have lower sodium and sugar content than non-natural spreads. Stick to the natural, full fat jars to prevent trading good fats for bad sugars.
  13. Coconut The high levels of saturated fat in coconuts are mainly caused by lauric acid, a unique lipid that actually battles bacteria and lowers cholesterol. Studies have found that diets high in lauric acid can even help remove stubborn abdominal fat!
  14. Olive Oil Not only is olive oil rich in cancer fighting polyphenols and monounsaturated fats, but it also helps increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone responsible for breaking down body fat.olive-oil
  15. Whole Eggs Eggs are the number one source of Choline, a nutrient found in lean meats and greens, which helps fight the gene mechanism that stores fat around your liver. Eating full eggs, yolk and all, can thus keep you looking slim and trim, inside and out.
  16. Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate contains pure cocoa butter, which is a source of digestion slowing stearic acid. As a result, eating just a few ounces of dark chocolate before a meal can actually help reduce your caloric intake by up to 17%!
  17. Walnuts While saturated fats like those found in baking cause weight gain, polyunsaturated fats reduce fat storage and improve insulin metabolism. With 13 grams of polyunsaturated fat per one ounce serving, walnuts are one of the best natural sources of these healthy fats.
  18. Walnut Oil Besides the obvious benefits listed above, a diet filled with walnuts and walnut oil can also help the body respond better to stress and keep diastolic blood pressure down.
  19. Salmon Everyone knows that salmon is loaded with heart healthy omega-3s. But did you know that just two servings of salmon a week can get you the total amount of omega-3s recommended by the American Heart Association?Photo via Flickr user jh_tan84
  20. Tuna Tuna is an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two fatty acids that are proven to regulate fat genes in the abdomen and keep fat cells from expanding. To lower your risks of ingesting mercury, go for smaller species of tuna like those found in light canned options, which are safe to eat throughout the week!

[More at Yahoo Health]



September 16th, 2015

9 Fantastic Gadgets That Will Ramp Up Your Health & Fitness

  1. Fitbit
Best Health Gadgets - Fitbit With its surge in popularity over the last year, there’s no avoiding the usefulness of the Fitbit. From the Zip, which tracks your steps, calories, and distance, to the Apple Watch-like Surge, there’s a Fitbit for everyone. The happy medium seems to be the slim and lightweight Flex, which is affordable and functional – it’s even got the sleep tracking capability.
  1. Fitbit Aria
Best Health Gadgets - Fitbit Aria Fitbit’s smart scale tracks your weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, and connects to your Fitbit data through the free Fitbit app for iOS and Android. The Aria is available in both black and white for the design-focused fitness buff.
  1. Taylor Smart Scale
Best Health Gadgets - Taylor Smart Scale The second option for a smart scale is the Taylor Smart Scale. It’s extremely accurate, and connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth to track your weight. It even allows you to set goals and track progress within the scale’s user interface. Or, you can connect the data with our next suggestion.
  1. My Fitness Pal
Best Health Gadgets - My Fitness Pal The app that tracks your eating habits and calorie intake also serves as an aggregator of data. It can sync with both your Fitbit and your Taylor Smart Scale to create a cohesive summary of your fitness goals and progress. Accessible from both your smartphone and your desktop computer, My Fitness Pal is easy-to-use and effective in helping you track data and get fit.
  1. Jabra Sport Plus Headphones
Best Health Gadgets - Jabras Earphones Once you step up your cardio (gotta put that Fitbit to work!), it might be worth upgrading those old Walkman headphones. The Jabra Sport Plus model is wireless, so there’s no concern about tangled cords. For tunes, you can listen to iTunes or Spotify through Bluetooth from your smartphone, or if you don’t feel like hauling any extra weight along, the headphones can connect to FM radio.
  1. Quitbit
Best Health Gadgets - Quitbit If you still haven’t been able to kick the habit, new technology will soon be available to help you out. The Quitbit lighter tracks your cigarettes to help you better understand your habit. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to view your smoking trends and cigarette spending, and lets you share with friends (in case peer pressure helps your efforts!). You can even limit your cigarettes by pre-setting your smoke times ­­– the Quitbit will only allow you to light up at the scheduled time.
  1. Smartmat
Best Health Gadgets - Smart mat The Smartmat is the world’s first intelligent yoga mat – or, it will be. Though the exciting new product isn’t available for purchase yet, it is in final stages. Funded through Indiegogo, the mat is intended to teach the user yoga. An accompanying app guides the user through yoga classes, and the responsive mat gives the user verbal instructions on how to improve their form. Namaste, technology.
  1. QardioArm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
Best Health Gadgets If you’re kicking up your cardio, it’s worth investing in a blood pressure monitor. The QardioArm is compact, easy to use, and dependable. Nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest.
  1. Netatmo Weather Station
Best Health Gadgets - Netatmo Weather Station The Netatmo allows you to view info about your home’s condition, right on your smartphone. It will tell you what to expect in terms of temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, noise pollution, and monitors CO2. When the air quality deteriorates it chooses the right time for you to ventilate your home or room. Plus, you can personalize the settings to keep you comfortable.


September 14th, 2015

How to Boost Brainpower and Increase Productivity

Don’t we all wish we could have 10 more hours in a day? That’s impossible, of course, but by boosting your brainpower, you can increase your productivity, which will create the illusion of more time. While there exist quick fixes for sharpening your brain (like eating antioxidant-filled blueberries or going for a run to score some endorphins), these three tips work best as habits to develop and maintain over time.

Get the sleep you need

Reducing caffeine will improve your sleep and mental capability

Cutting caffeine can greatly improve your quality of sleep.

Getting your minimum six hours isn’t even the most important aspect of sleep – what’s really important is getting high quality sleep. Try a sleep-tracking app like Sleepbot or a Fitbit to track your REM cycles. You can also use such apps to set an adjustable alarm that will wake you when your sleep is lightest to increase the quality of your sleep.

You can also unplug before bed to improve your sleep quality. The blue light found on tablets, smartphones, and eReaders actually signals your body to wake up, right before going to bed. Try reading a paper book before bed instead.

Lastly, cutting caffeine (at least in the afternoons, if you can’t live without your morning cuppa) will better the quality of your sleep, among other benefits. Still need a three o’clock pick-me-up? Try an iced herbal tea to give you a boost without the buzz.

Stimulate your brain

Socialization is actually good for your mental health

Socializing is actually good for you – it stimulates your brain. Party on!

Abandon your GPS and calculator in favour of using a map or doing calculations in your head. You can also sign up for a daily-word email to increase your vocabulary. Exercising your brain can also be accomplished by playing Scrabble (or Words with Friends!) instead of just talking or texting. Interestingly, socialization is also hugely beneficial to your brain. By inviting friends over, you  reduce your chances of dementia. What better excuse is there to open a bottle of wine?

Another way to stimulate your brain is to do something new. This can be as simple as walking somewhere instead of driving, as intense as trying a new sport. Learning a new language or instrument also positively impacts the brain.

Treat your body right

Meditation benefits mental ability

Thirty minutes of yoga or meditation will increase your daily productivity.

First, kick the habit. Cigarettes have been linked to memory deficits, so the sooner you quit, the better it is for your body and brain.

Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a longer walk to your car. Try parking further from work, or getting off the bus earlier than usual to increase your walking distance. Practicing yoga or meditating also works – just 30 minutes a day contributes greatly to mental capacity.

Eating right also has a big impact. That means loading up on superfoods like blueberries, almonds, dark chocolate, and greens to boost your brain, but also making a habit of staying hydrated and eating clean and balanced meals.

 



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