Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Spotlight

This week's Sunday Spotlight food is.... Red Bell Peppers!

I love red bell peppers. I like them raw on a sandwich, in salad, or with hummus. I like them stuffed with quinoa and tofu and spices. I like to roast peppers and then turn them into pasta sauces. I. Love. Them. I got lucky this week because Safeway has them on sale which is why I was inspired to write the first Sunday Spotlight feature about them.

Health Info
One medium sized red bell pepper has approximately 135% of you Daily Value for Vitamin A and 375% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C. That is over twice as much Vitamin C as an orange! They have vitamin B6, fiber, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene which help fight free radicals. (In the future I'll do a discussion on free radicals.) All of these vitamins and antioxidants have been related to lessen the possibility of developing prostate, cervical, and bladder cancer, and lessen the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Storage & Cleaning
Red bell peppers will last in the fridge for about a week. If you buy too many of them (like me) you can freeze them whole in the freezer to pull out when you get a craving. Also, wash them really, really well before throwing in a recipe to remove any pesticide residues.

How To Use
There's no mystery here. You can eat them raw, steamed, sauteed, etc. They add a great crunch to salads and sandwiches. Their sweetness is a great contrast in spicy dishes such as red beans and rice or chili. They go great with dips on a vegetable tray. If you say you don't like them--prepare them different ways to see if that helps. My husband doesn't like them raw, but if they're sauteed or roasted he'll gobble them up.

One small caveat: I have said previously that food can heal us. I do honestly believe that, but I don't think that me eating a red bell pepper a day will keep me from getting some sort of disease or condition. I say that food can heal us because I want people to get their calories from real food. Ingredients you cannot pronounce will not bring you to optimal health--eating real food will. So eat real food and be healthy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

Wednesday will be Hump Day Headlines day where I tell you about some interesting articles I read in the past week or so.

Up first: Cruciferous Vegetable to the Rescue!
In this article they discuss a study done concerning the relation between a phytochemical in cruciferous vegetable and its possible potential to kill cancer cells in the body. My mother is a cancer survivor and I like so many people honestly believe that we will find a cure for cancer. Where I differ, though, is that I believe that food can be our medicine. This is not to say that radiation and chemotherapy haven't been able to successfully "heal" people from cancer, but I believe that food has the power to cure us without the toxins and chemicals. This article has offered me and my values a lot of hope. Hint: You can tell if a vegetable is cruciferous by its cross stem such as you find in broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.

And... Green Tea Could Inhibit Autoimmune Diseases!
This study shows that there could be a link between green tea and the suppression of autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Celiac disease, and Type 1 Diabetes. Once again we're seeing a way that food can heal us. This study was a bit difficult to read but I urge you to work through it to continue to understand how amazing food can be. it is not only good, but it is so good for you! Instead of having a second cup of coffee why not throw some green tea into your mug?

There was an accidental theme in this week's Hump Day Headlines and that is eat real food. One way I've heard it said is "If it didn't come from the ground or if it didn't have parents don't eat it." Obviously there's room for discussion about free range, organic, vegetarianism, etc. At this point though, I just want to urge people to eat real food. I am not perfect in this arena in any way but I try hard and because of that I get to reap the feel good, energy boosting, disease fighting benefits. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Happy Tuesday everyone!

--Did you know the stomach, when it is completely empty, is only the size of about 3 tablespoons? The reason why it can expand to roughly 1 liter is because it is comprised of numerous tiny folds that allow it to grow in size as food enters. Think of it as a crumpled up balloon. While the balloon may look small when it is empty, it is able to grow once it is blown up with air. Same principle with the stomach!

--Many of us have heard that increasing one's fiber intake can decrease cholesterol and I recently learned why. Not all fiber is digestible. When indigestible fiber passes through the body it is able to bind up cholesterol and take it out of the body.

I know this information won't change your life, but I am all about learning the little things to help me navigate this big world. You never know when you might be able to fill a lull in dinner party conversation with fabulous health and nutrition trivia!

Keep checking back as I will have posts coming up about why I'm against cutting out carbs and how amazing our liver is!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Welcome to the temporary home for the Hammer Health Blog!

What is Hammer Health?

In the not so distant future, Hammer Health will be my business. I will be a certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant and have hopes of not only counseling people one on one, but I also plan to use that education to write and to do speaking engagements.

Why blog?

I think it will be a great way to set a foundation as I work into becoming a freelancer. I like it, I'm good at it, and it's fun!

What will I say?

As I've done with previous blogs, I will talk about recipes and foods that I'm eating and/or enjoying. However, since the focus of my education is on nutrition and wellness, I am planning on the majority of my posts being related to those components. I plan to share tidbits that I'm learning in hopes of making nutrition and wellness information accessible and as fascinating to others as I think it is.

Now what?

Now it's time for me to get my nose back in the book so I can share what I learn with you! Have a great day!