How Giving Up Dairy Can Change Your Life

In a society filled with fast food, ice cream, pasta and bread, one minute you are in your 20s, filled with the energy of a teenager (and looking like one, too). Then you wake up a few years later, 50lbs heavier, sitting on your couch, wearing your pajamas in the middle of the afternoon, enjoying some rocky road and binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. Where did it all go wrong? And why are you so tired? Did you ever stop to think that it could be something you are eating? Have you ever considered quitting dairy?

From the time we are small, we are pulled in by the hype- milk does the body good… dairy is an important part of the food pyramid… and now we have cows on commercials for the dairy industry promoting milk. For some people, however, milk is not doing the body good. It is causing issues throughout the body in ways you can not even imagine. Studies show that the following scenario could be YOU two months after giving up dairy…

Me, Skinny Jeans?

You know those skinny jeans that you keep staring fondly at in your closet? Remember when they fit you like a glove? Now, you cannot even squeeze your little pinky toe into them. Studies say that 2 months after giving up dairy, you will see a significant drop in weight you have been carrying around. Will you lose 50lbs? No, probably not. But the weight you do lose will be a great start on the journey to lose that 50.

Bye-Bye Belly Bloat!

Are you intimately familiar with Belly Bloat? What we mean is, after eating sometimes do you find your belly filling like a helium balloon? Do you find yourself running to the bathroom to keep from having an embarrassing accident less than an hour after you eat?  Are you constantly purchasing Lactaid or antacids just to ease the pain a bit? If so, Dairy could very well be the culprit. Go Non-dairy for 2 months, and you can kiss those embarrassing, tummy issues, goodbye!

 

What’s That Amazing Smell?

We know this one is going to surprise you… but are you one of those who suffer with chronic sinus infections, allergies, daily antihistamines? Are you best friends with your Neti Pot? Most people have heard that dairy can contribute to congestion, but they don’t translate that into sinus and allergy issues. However, that is exactly what it is. Dairy causes a buildup or thickening of mucus which leads to congestion AND sinus and allergy issues. Before you take the step towards painful sinus surgery, just say no to milk!

 

Healthy Eating without dairy?

When you are tired after a long day, you grab the quickest thing available. Many times those quick meals are include some form of dairy. Cheese on your burger, sour cream on your potato, a milkshake at the drivethru. Even our quick, designer coffee is laced with cream. You have to rethink your meals, pre plan, and get creative. Green smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, protein packed dinners. Getting rid of dairy makes room for foods that are nutrient packed, and you lose that heavy feeling after meals that you have with dairy.

 

Final Thoughts

We know what you are thinking…”I could never live without….” So, DON’T! If you want to stay away from dairy, but can’t live without an occasional slice of pizza, then you have some choices. Find an alternative.Soy milk and yogurt, buttery non-dairy spread, almond milk ICE CREAM. There are even VEGAN CHEESES that you can add to your pizza or burgers. There are so many dairy free items and recipes out there that the only difference you will find is how much better you look and feel! It may take some getting used to- not buying the same old same old at the grocery store, but once you commit to stopping dairy, do your research, and get to shopping! If you have to, take dairy out gradually, but once you go dairy-free completely, the benefits will have you asking WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS YEARS AGO?

 

Freezing Bananas Made EASY

What could be better than a frozen banana to add to your morning smoothie? How about using the frozen fruit when baking banana bread or muffins? The internet is full of ideas for freezing bananas, but most of it is simply bad advice.

There are two techniques floating through the web, and we found that both have serious limitations.

#1: Freeze the entire banana

Issues with this method:

Trying to peel a frozen banana is a nightmare! You have to defrost it either by letting it thaw naturally, or putting it in the microwave, which adds another step, and if done incorrectly it can damage the fruit. Another idea is slicing it out of the peel, which can be difficult and sometimes leaves peel particles on the meat of your banana.

Have you ever handled a defrosted, un-peeled banana? It can be quite disgusting. It results in a sticky slimy liquid that you have to get rid of due to the high water content in the peel. So that method is out! Unless you are into that kind of thing…

#2: Freeze sliced banana on a cookie sheet

 

This is time consuming, and requires a lot of freezer room. Those who recommend this method instruct you to peel the banana and cut it into pieces. Place the pieces, not touching, on parchment covered cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the freezer and wait. When they are fully frozen, place them in a ziploc or tupperware container in the freezer for later use.

Issues with this:

  1. There are a lot of steps in this process.
  2. A  large number of cookie sheets and ample freezer space are both required in this method, especially if you want to freeze a whole bunch of bananas.
  3. Unless you are making a smoothie, most recipes call for a certain number of whole bananas. So, now that you have chunks, you will have to line them up until you reach a length that you feel is appropriate for a whole banana, which adds another step in this process.
  4. Many times, unpeeled bananas stick together in the freezer, thus becoming very hard to separate. After going through the trouble of freezing them individually on the cookie sheet, they defrost just enough when you are packing them into your bag or container to become sticky. They end up forming a big block-o-banana and, again, you have to guess at how much is now in the giant mess frozen in your bag. Then, you are left to cut portions out, which can be frustrating as well as time consuming.

The Solution

Yes- there is a solution to all of these issues!

Peel the banana. A great tip here, peel it upside down! Start peeling from the “bottom” and you will end up with a much cleaner fruit with no strings AND the nasty brown end will be gone as well.

Wrap your now singular peeled banana in plastic wrap, wax paper, or aluminum foil.

Place the individually wrapped fruits in a Ziploc or plastic storage container in the freezer.

When you are ready for a banana, whatever your recipe might be, it is ripe for the picking!  

If blending, you may need to break the frozen banana into pieces to keep from bogging down your blender. When baking, you will still have to defrost, but you are not stuck with the disgusting mess of defrosting with the peel on.

If you are planning to use the bananas for a frozen chocolate covered treat, start with fresh, and not frozen, or the chocolate may not adhere as well to the banana.

ONE MORE GREAT IDEA: Stores frequently offer big discounts on bruised or unattractive banana. GRAB THEM! They are perfect for freezing, and didn’t grandma always tell you those are the best for baking?

Just be sure to toss those peels and take the trash out as this is a personal invitation to fruit flies!

 

Now that you know how to do it, GO BANANAS!

 

Simple And Appetizing Rib Recipe

Like most carnivorous humans, we cannot get enough ribs! But, depending on how you make them, they can be quite time consuming when all you want to do is sink your teeth into their barbecued goodness. And some recipes require so many ingredients to bring out the flavor of the meaty masterpieces you are shopping till the (AHEM) cows come home.

We have found a solution to your rib dilemma. In the recipe below, you will be able to get those ribs going with only 3 ingredients, and devour them in no time!

INGREDIENTS

  •       3 pounds English-style bone-in beef short ribs
  •       2 tablespoons olive oil
  •       1 cup prune juice
  •       1 cup teriyaki sauce
  •       Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, sear ribs until browned on all sides, 8–10 minutes. Transfer ribs to a plate.
  2.  Drain fat from pot. Add prune juice, teriyaki sauce, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and return ribs to pot. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and braise until beef is very tender and falling off the bone, 2–3 hours.
  3.  Transfer ribs to a platter. Bring liquid in pot to a boil on stovetop. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 12–15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; pour over ribs.

Now, sink your teeth into those ribs, and ENJOY!

Crisper Drawers Are No Place For Cucumbers

 Whether eating them raw, in a salad, or as part of a stir-fry; nothing is worse for lovers of cucumbers than finding your last cucumber has died while resting in your crisper. What a disappointment. You bought it, thinking it would last until your next craving and here it is, a few days later, and it has become a mushy mess. Where did it all go wrong?

Maybe, that crisper drawer is NOT the best place for your precious cukes.

According to a recent and surprising article, we found that cucumbers should be stored at room temperature, NOT in the refrigerator at all. We know, this flies in the face of all we have held dear in relation to the yummy veggies. But, they grow outside, after all- so maybe there is some credence.

The study states that cucumbers are sensitive to low temperatures. The more we thought about it, the more that made sense. Cold weather kills tons of produce, including cucumbers, every year. So why are we putting the little guys into a place that mimics that type of weather? Temperature below 50 degrees cause them to develop watery areas, dents and pitting.  and levels of accelerated decay.

The study went on to say that the vegetables will last longer, and actually thrive, at room temperature.

If you still can’t stomach leaving them out of refrigeration, you should limit their time in the crisper to no more than 3 days. They should also be kept towards the front of the shelf or drawer, where the temperatures are warmer. Never store them on the bottom shelf, even if that is where your crisper is, because that is often the coldest part of the fridge.

If you are willing to keep these salad stars on the counter, be sure to keep them away from such items as melons, tomatoes and bananas, as these items produce ethylene, which will speed the ripening, thus spoiling, process.

Optimally, if you want your cucumbers cold when you put them into the salad bowl, place them into the fridge for a few hours before dinner, and you will never know they have been resting all week on the counter.

Simple Summer Sorbet

Sorbet is a sweet and refreshing way to enjoy fruit while tricking your brain into thinking you are eating a fatty, frozen dessert. Sorbet is also relatively easy to make at home, ensuring you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into your body.

Believe it or not, sorbet is just fruit and sugar. Yes- that is it! Two ingredients standing between you and cool, fruity refreshment.

Two pounds of fresh fruit should be enough for making around a quart of sorbet. This translates into about five cups once the fruit is chopped. If you are a little off, that is ok! These are the basics and no one is going to check behind you to see if you are a little over or under.

Puree the fruit and add a little sugar. This puree becomes your sorbet base.

When adding sugar, we recommend making a simple sugar syrup. Simmer equal parts sugar and water on low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cool. Before you added cooled syrup to your fruit puree, remember that the freezing process will dull the sweet flavor of your fruit. When you sample your base, you want it to be a little too sweet.

Before freezing, you need to be sure that your base has the optimum sugar level so that your finished sorbet will be smooth and not slushy or icy, resulting from the improper sugar. The proper combination of fruit and sugar ensures the perfect texture.

To make sure that your levels are correct, do this simple trick. Float a large egg in the sorbet base. First, wash and dry a large egg. Place it gently into the previously pureed and strained mixture. The egg should sink only to a level where there is a nickel-sized portion showing. If the circle is too small, or if the egg is not visible at all, your sorbet needs more sugar. If a larger portion is showing, add more water or fruit juice.

Once you have achieved the proper texture, freeze for 12 hours and enjoy!

Remember, this sorbet is YOURS. Add herbs, spices, or for adult consumption you can even add a little liquor to the base. For a creamier treat, add cream or coconut milk and enjoy a sherbet. Using your favorite fruits and flavors, you can create a timely all-natural treat that you can enjoy all year long.