Tastes Nutritious

blog to discuss everyday questions about nutrition

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Butternut squash and quinoa stuffing

Squash and quinoa stuffing writing

Thanksgiving lunch is all about traditions: roast turkey, glazed carrots, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the stuffing. But sometimes it is nice to break those traditions, and replace something old with something new. This healthy butternut squash and quinoa stuffing is a perfect addition to any table. It contains a lot of ingredients that are good for you like butternut squash, broccoli, kale and pomegranate. Once thanksgiving is over, you can eat this dish as a seasonal side to roast chicken, lamb or pork or on its own as a lunchtime salad. Continue reading

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Why is eating high fructose corn syrup unhealthy?



High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made from cornstarch. Further processing converts cornstarch into corn syrup. Because corn syrup is almost 100% glucose, enzymes are added to convert some of the glucose molecules to fructose. There are two most common forms of HFCS: HFCS-55 which is added to soft drinks and HFCS-42 which is mainly used in ice-creams, desserts and baked goods. HFCS is also known as Glucose-Fructose, Isoglucose, Glucose-Fructose or Fructose-Glucose Syrup. There are a number of reasons why HFCS is unhealthy and why you should avoid it as much as possible: Continue reading

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The wonders of turmeric


photo credit: eatlivegrowpaleo.com

Turmeric is spice that has a deep orange-yellow color and it is a staple ingredient in any South Asian or Middle Eastern kitchen. It is a very versatile spice and it is used in cooking for both its taste and its color. Turmeric is added curries, it is a starter ingredient in many Persian dishes and in South Africa it is used to add color to boiled white rice. You can find turmeric on the ingredients list of many products such as caned beverages, popcorn, cereals, biscuits and crackers, just to name a few.

Turmeric has also been associated with many health benefits and it has been used to treat various diseases, skin conditions, gastrointestinal aches pains, wounds, sprains and liver disorders. It is curcumin that gives turmeric its healing powers. Curcumin is a potent phytonutrient that has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Here are a few studies that support these claims. Continue reading

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Why are trans fats so dangerous and how can you avoid them?

Trans fats for blog

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat. They can occur naturally in meat and milk products or can be created artificially. The naturally occurring trans fats are formed by bacteria in the stomach of ruminant animals such as cows or sheep. They account for only 2-5% of the fat content in the dairy products and 3-9% of the fat content in beef and lamb. We have eaten these naturally occurring trans fats for centuries and studies show that natural trans fats are not harmful to our health if consumed in moderate amounts. Artificial trans fats are created by adding hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. This process changes the oil from being a liquid at room temperature into being a solid. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils have similar consistency to saturated fat and have a much longer shelf life which is why manufacturers like using them. Artificially created trans fats can be found in in many products including, fried foods, donuts, cakes, pies, biscuits, pizzas crackers, cookies and stick margarine. Eating artificially created trans fats is bad for our health for a number of reasons: Continue reading

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How do you choose the best coconut water?

coconut water

photo credit: rollingout.com

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside a young green coconut. Many people associate drinking fresh coconut water with holidays to the Caribbean, Brazil, South East Asia, Pacific Islands or Africa but these days you can buy coconut water almost in any supermarket or corner store.

Why is coconut water good for you?

Coconut water is good for you because it contains a unique blend of vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. For example when your body is sweating, it is losing minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. The electrolytes in coconut water can replenish these, making it a very effective natural sports drink. A study published in the Molecules Journal in 2009 shows that coconut water, in addition to minerals and vitamins, contains other health beneficial compounds like phytohormones. These phytohormones help to fight arthrosclerosis, hypertension, ageing, cancer, heart disease and neural diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Drinking coconut water can also boost the antioxidant system and helps to prevent anemia in pregnancy. Dr. Bruce Fife N.D. points to other studies that show the ability of coconut water to treat or prevent high blood pressure, stroke, kidney stones, osteoporosis and Crohn’s disease. Continue reading

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Baked oatmeal with walnuts and berries


Oatmeal 5

I have a new favorite Sunday breakfast recipe. It is baked oatmeal with walnuts and berries. I love this recipe because it is easy to make, it is healthy and it makes the whole room smell of cinnamon and berries. In our house, baked oatmeal disappears in seconds and there are never any leftovers. I don’t add sugar, maple syrup or any other sweeteners but you could add a dash of honey if you like. It is really simple and quick to make. My kids love to help out: mixing, stirring, sprinkling and tasting as we go along. To give your breakfast an extra Omega-3 boost you can sprinkle freshly ground flax seeds on the oatmeal once it’s on your plate. Continue reading

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5 ways to avoid processed meat

Processed Meat

I decided to write this post because I find it interesting that most us choose to eat processed meat even though we know it is unhealthy. Somehow we have been programmed to like ham and sausages. Maybe it is the high amounts of salt that makes the ham so irresistible or the spices that make chorizo so delicious. I do not know. What I do know is that eating large amounts of processed meat is bad for our health and the daily safe amounts are much lower than we think. Continue reading


There are so many types of dried fruit in the supermarket, how do I decide which one to buy?

When buying dried fruit I recommend avoiding: sugar/sweeteners, sulfur dioxide, synthetic pesticides and artificial colors.

1) Sugar/sweeteners – many manufacturers add sugar, artificial sweeteners or fruit juices to their dried fruit to make it taste sweeter. I recommend avoiding these sweeteners because they don’t contain any nutritional value and only add calories. Sometimes the front of the packaging clearly states that the dried fruit has been sweetened. Dried pineapple, banana, cranberries or blueberries are a good example of this. However if you want to be sure you are avoiding the added sugar/sweeteners you will need to check the ingredients list, as the use of sugar/sweeteners does not always appear on the front of the packaging.

sweeteners Continue reading


Is snacking on dried fruit healthy?

If you eat it in small portions, it is.

Dried fruit is a fantastic invention. It gives us an instant energy boost, it can be taken anywhere and can be stored for a long time. Best of all, dried fruit retains most of the nutritional value of its fresh counterpart. So including a small portion of dried fruit in your everyday diet will give you similar benefits to eating real fruit. Continue reading

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Pesto crusted salmon with baby kale and asparagus salad


Pesto crusted salmon is our favorite weeknight dinner. It is so easy to make. You can serve it with almost any greens or grains, but my favorite way of eating it is with kale and asparagus salad, and a small piece of crusty bread on the side. I found the recipe for the salmon a few years ago in the Little Dish recipe book and we have been making it ever since. It is also a total hit with our kids. They like their pesto salmon with couscous, and a few fresh vegetables. Continue reading