Supermarket Mystery Fruits #1

Imagine this: You walk into your local grocery store through the chilled aisles of the produce section. There, you find something locked away in a box. You can barely make out what it is through the little plastic window. The images and text on the box allude to the mystery inside, but you still have no idea as to what it could be. Curious, you pick it up. Along the opening of the box, sealed by tape it reads: To open: state my name. Your only clues are this: It has a hard brown shell to guard itself from predators, but once cracked, it reveals a soft, date-like flesh on the inside. You’ll need to peel away the spine to get to it, and beware of the black seeds. Any guesses on what this fruit is?

Hmmm?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm???

After long deliberation, a word comes to you from unknown origin. You utter the 4 syllables: Ta-ma-rind. Suddenly, the tape binding the box shrivels away and a golden light radiates from inside, shining so brightly it engulfs the whole grocery store. It disappears as quickly as it came, revealing a magical entity – the Goddess of Tamarind- in the boxes place and- okay, I’ll stop there. You’ll just need to try the fruit out for yourself to find out what happens next. 😉

Going on a culinary expedition doesn’t have to be some vast experience that costs you a lot of time and money. You can do that just by picking up an unfamiliar fruit or veggie and learning something about it.

Tamarind is a tropical fruit that originated from Africa, but has spread vastly to Central America, South America, and South Asia. It is typically made into a drink, but you can also eat the fruit by itself. It has a sweet and sour/tangy flavor to it. I personally enjoy them when they are more on the sour side, and the fruit just as is. But please, for the love of humanity, do not eat too many of them at a time. Tamarind is good at stimulating the digestive tract and acts as a laxative. And it works really well. Believe me. 

Tamarind has a variety of ways you can eat it such as:

  • Raw
  • Dried and ground as a spice
  • Made into a drink
  • You can also make it into candies, jams, and sauces

There are so many amazing benefits this guarded fruit has to offer, but please, let this video tell you what they are!

After scouring the internet to find the simplest recipe I possibly could, I present to you how to turn tamarind into a drink according to Food.com.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb whole tamarind pulp, pods (tamarind deshelled and deveined)
  • hot water
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 12 cups granulated sugar or 1 1/2 cups honey

DIRECTIONS

  • Cover tamarind pods with hot water.
  • Let stand 1 hour; drain.
  • Rinse and drain.
  • Remove pods, stems and strings from tamarinds.
  • Place pods in 2 quarts of water.
  • Let stand at least 8 hours or overnight; strain, reserving liquid.
  • Press as much tamarind pulp as possible through a sieve.
  • Mix pulp, reserved liquid and the sugar or honey.
  • Heat just until the sugar or honey melts.
  • Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Serve over ice.

Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean pushing yourself to be social, or driving someplace far, or trying something that you really don’t want to do. Sometimes, all it takes is being a little more adventurous during your grocery shopping and using your imagination.

To view the full article on organicfacts.net, click here

Please comment below if you have tried the fruit/drink before or have made tamarind into other simple and yummy kitchen creations!

Love and light,
Ze ❤

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any links that I post. Any programs, products, sites, etc. I mention are for sharing purposes only. All images are obtained from Google search engine.**

The Best Post Workout Drink. EVER.

Working out is cool and all, but did you know what you eat right after and how soon is just as important?

Once upon a Rebecca Louise workout, I learned that AT LEAST 20-30mins after you workout, you need to consume some healthy calories. Once upon a Fitness Blender workout later, Kellie emphasized having a snack ranging from 200-300 calories within that same time frame. I was getting the hint that I this was something i had to learn more about so I decided to do my own research. I came across three articles putting all that science into layman’s terms. Below is the most simple version, but if youd like to delve a little deeper click here or here.

It’s common not to feel like food straight after a workout, but what you heard is correct. It’s best to eating something within 30 minutes to an hour after exercising in order to refuel and allow recovery to take place. Your body loses a lot during a workout (including lots of sweat!) and this small window period straight after allows your muscles to take in protein — amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue — electrolytes like potassium and carbohydrates. They then get stored away for energy and muscle repair. Of course you can wait longer to eat, but your muscles are less likely to take in the nutrients from these foods, which can lead to a decrease in energy and leave you feeling stiff and sore.

Source: PopSugar Fitness

I’m always looking to up my fitness game and that includes eating better and cleaner so if consuming something 20-30 minutes after my workout meant I would get stronger and toner faster, then I was game. There was, however, a problem: I wanted to throw up after I ate anything solid after working out. I typically don’t eat anything solid until a good 3-4 hours after I wake up. Most protein drinks taste AWFUL, to boot, and well, all know how I feel about nutrition bars (see here).

And then there was the second problem: I was finally getting good at the healthy eating part, but if you’re like me, you may have a morning routine and eating breakfast came after my work out, my mediation, getting dressed,walking the dog, etc. and that could take anywhere between 60 to 90 minutes. I tried a number of different things that didn’t work to give my muscles the boost they needed. Then one miraculous day, I found Orgain vegan all-in-one shakes.

I finally, FINALLY found something that tasted good and got the job done. Orgain all-in-one protein shakes come in a terrapack and contain a large assortment of organic fruits and veggies, chia seeds and pea protein. Each of the vegan drinks is gluten/dairy/lactose/soy free, Non-GMO, has 16g of protein and 21 vitamins and minerals, and is 220 calories per drink. You can buy them individually, in a 4 pack or 12 pack.

If I lost you at vegan, have no fear! They have dairy shakes in tons of different flavors and several different protein powders including keto- friendly. They have superfoods, collagen peptides, kids drinks and more.

Another reason why I love this product so much is how it all began. The founder, Andrew Abraham, had cancer as a teen and healed himself through food. Orgain came from a place of love and wanting to help others. Conventional foods just don’t cut it. So many things that are promoted out there are crap and sold as short cuts. A lot of people don’t care about your health, they care about your money and doctors aren’t even taught, at least back in the day, about how nutrition directly effects your health. The 3 minute video below is the moving story of Andrew’s journey and how that led him to quitting is job as a doctor to pursue something for the greater good.

Honestly, it’s not hard to eat healthy if you are in the position to choose what you can eat. You just have to have the courage and will power to forge your own path away from all the marketing. It’s not more expensive to eat better as “they” say it is- the processed food look-a-likes are. All those dairy and meat alternatives end up adding a whole bunch of by-product to make something “look and taste like the real thing”.

It doesn’t mean you still can’t eat the crap food you love on occasion. Just put more of the good, unprocessed stuff into your body and you’ll naturally stop eating lesser foods. You’ll also notice the fog lift from your mind and eyes, feel more present, and excited to be alive. You’ll be able to take control and move towards life, not death. It is possible. Eating healthy is a very tangible thing once you get past all the BS that’s falsely labeled as “healthy”.

To visit Orgain’s website, click here.

Note: Orgain products are available for purchase on the website, Amazon, Whole Foods, and Market Basket.

Love and light,
Ze ❤

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any links that I post. Any programs, products, sites, etc. I mention are for sharing purposes only. All images are obtained from Google search engine.**

Nutrition Bars

Nutrition bars are supposed to be a great way to get good nutrients on the fly. They give you protein, fiber, and vitamins. “Keeps you fuller longer! 5grams of sugar! 18 grams of protein!” While that may be true, they also give you a lot of crap. Bars can be highly processed and contain a lot of fillers and nonsense to bind them together. Have you ever actually read the ingredients of say, a cliff bar or a quest bar? shudders

When I was in college, I used to eat a lot of nutrition bars- KIND bars in particular since it seemed healthier of the options. I just listened to the front label and never read the ingredients. So, I’d grab about 3 of them and call it a day. I’d always have bad indigestion and get bloated afterwards and couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t until I brought this problem to a friend. She told me that they aren’t real food. I was baffled. “But they were marketed as that…and there are real ingredients in it…,” I said. My friend repeated herself. “It’s not real food”. It wasn’t until a few years later that I actually understood what she meant. It wasn’t a whole food- limitedly processed, free from crap, genuinely nutritious food. It was like the veil had been lifted from my eyes.

The Issue

I want to break this down for you. I obtained an ingredients list from an article on Self.com titled “The FDA Says KIND Bars Are Healthy Again“. It reads “the ingredients in KIND bars vary depending on the flavor, but an almond and coconut bar contains almonds, coconut, honey, glucose syrup, rice flour, soy lecithin, chicory root fiber, sugar, and sea salt—a relatively short list that leaves the bar with 190 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugar.”

Yes, its a relatively short list. Yes, it doesn’t have many calories. BUT ITS PACKED WITH SUGAR! And not natural sugar. Honey, glucose syrup, and sugar. 3 of the 9 ingredients are sugar! Also, do you know anything about glucose syrup, soy lecithin, and chicory root fiber without looking it up? Neither do I.

Bars are advertised like they are some God-sent gift to humanity, but they really aren’t. As you can tell, I have a personal gripe with them.

The Solution

You’re better off getting a piece of fruit or unroasted, unsalted nuts. Other on the go snack ideas are grass-fed cheese sticks, grass-fed drinkable yogurt. Olive snack packs (only the Kalamata are free of crap). Popcorn (Boom Chicka Pop or Skinny Pop).

If you need bars in your life, I do recommend these two brands. They have all good stuff and actually taste pretty good:

LÄRABAR – they have only 6 ingredients in them and come in a variety of flavors. Dates make up the majority of these bars, however.

Perfect Bars – who doesn’t like peanut butter! (unless you’re allergic 😦 ) These bars are mixed with 20+ superfoods. I’d stick to the regular, peanut butter one. Just please, don’t try the brownie one. It’s a lie.

As with everything, make sure you read the ingredients on the back, and if you don’t know what something is, neither does your body. But if you eat unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, rice. Etc, that becomes a non-issue!

Ze ❤

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any links that I post. Any programs, products, sites, etc. I mention are for sharing purposes only.**

Nutrition label hacks.

I would like to share a little bit of my journey toward health and wellness with you. I wasn’t really overweight growing up, because I was active. Regardless, I perceived that I was enormous because of societal standards, and not being happy with your appearance was the “normal” way to think. After the age of 13, I quit my 10-year dancing career. I thought that since I was entering high school, I was going to have all these friends and not have time for anything, but my social life. Long story short, I missed it very much and that’s how I started exercising. It was the easiest thing to bring into my life since I don’t like sitting still. Nutrition, however, was a whole other ballgame.

When I was younger, I did not eat well at all. I had cake and soda for breakfast and pretty much only consumed processed foods. It took a long time to get to where I am now- having a healthy relationship with food. I’ve come across articles that have stated the “recommended daily value” of vitamins and such is bogus, the “2000-calories-a-day” is a sham, and let’s not forget the “Oh, you thought this food was good for you? GUESS AGAIN!”. It’s no wonder how if you’re new to the world of eating better and leading a better life, you can get lost along the way. Everything seems so contradictory.

My goal here is to make people’s lives simpler and offer more palatable ways to incorporate wellness from a person who doesn’t like to go out that much or spend a lot of money. The nutrition knowledge I have is an accumulation of trial-and-error, sifting through loads of articles, things taught to me by YouTube fitness instructors, and more of the like. I’ve compiled a list of things that come to mind on a daily basis when picking out food.

1. Aim to eat foods with FIVE Ingredients or less.
2. Ingredients are listed from the most prominent ingredient first to the least.
3. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, neither does your body. (This one really resonates with me. It just makes so much sense!)
4. If food is processed, aim for less than 5 grams of sugar. If it’s a piece of fruit, don’t worry about it.
5. Sugar comes in a crap ton of different names: fructose, sucralose, maltose, just to name a few. Click here for a more comprehensive list.
6. Beware of serving sizes. Nutrition labels like to trick consumers by making it look like the information for the entire bag/package when it is really just for a portion.

These mostly apply to processed foods. Everything that comes in a package- even frozen veggies- has a nutrition label, but if you buy plain old frozen peas or frozen broccoli, it’s not much of a concern.

Everything that I share on Cottontail Living is what has work best for me, and I hope that, in the end, some of it may work well for you, too. If you would like to know more, please feel free to email me at ze.cottontailliving@yahoo.com or DM me on Instagram @cottontail_living

-Ze ❤

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any links that I post. Any programs, products, sites, etc. I mention are for sharing purposes only.**