Nutrition Fact Friday: Calcium

Hey ya’ll! Friday is the best day because that means it is Nutrition Fact Friday. Every Friday of the week, I will be providing ya’ll with a mini nutrition education lesson on a nutrient, food, or something nutrition related. This week I have a special guest who goes by the name of Calcium. Calcium is considered to be the most abundant mineral in the body. It is found in some foods, added to others, and it can be in some medicines. This mighty mineral is needed for a variety of things to function in your body. Some things calcium impacts are vasodilation, muscle contraction, and hormone secretion. Calcium, in the average person’s mind, is considered to be a bone mineral. They are right in some ways because 99% of calcium is stored in the bone, but there are so many functions of calcium! One of the most common problems in society is that most people assume calcium is found in milk, so they push milk consumption like crazy. However this is not completely true! Calcium is found in a ton of options, so lets check them out:

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Since calcium is found in so many foods, you can plan your diet around many options in order to get your daily intake amount in. This is especially important to notice if you are vegan or lactose intolerant because you don’t consume milk in those populations, so having many options like different vegetables allows every population to not be calcium deficient. Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, can be a huge problem since calcium regulates many things such as blood pressure and it helps construct bones. Side effects that occur when there isn’t enough calcium in the body are osteoporosis, eye damage, and abnormal heartbeats. Therefore it is extremely important to consume calcium regularly in the diet.

The recommended intake for individuals, male or female, from ages 19-50 is 1000 mg. This is a pretty good number to try to reach every day. For individuals that are younger the requirement is usually less than 1000 until children reach the age of development, which is 9-18 years old and they consume around 1300 mg. The same is true for the population as it ages because there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. There is no maximum amount of calcium to limit yourself to because no adverse effects have been seen. It is important though to mix up your sources of calcium because when you consume things such as spinach, collard greens, and oranges you are giving your body other vital nutrients and minerals that are needed for the daily intake. One of the key things of living a nutritious and healthy life is following variety!

Now for the fun part of the nutrition fact Friday. The recipe ideas to help you consume more calcium. Each week on Friday, I will round up some of my favorite recipes that utilize a major source of that week’s topic in them. So this week it is all about those delicious calcium recipes!

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What a good way to get a good amount of calcium then by consuming more than one source in one sitting! This amazing recipe from Simply Life uses tofu and broccoli to create a stunning Chinese inspired dish. For one thing, it is sesame tofu, which maybe one of my favorite dishes to order at a Chinese restaurant (specifically Rice Bowl in Austin, currently having a drool sesh right now as I write this post). This recipe is incredibly easy to follow, it contains tons of healthy ingredients, and it is packed full of awesome flavors. This probably contains around 446 mg of calcium in it. That is a pretty great amount. The more broccoli you put in the dish, the more the calcium level will increase. A great idea would be to include some bok choy too. That way you are getting a large amount of fiber with your calcium, so you will feel fuller for a longer period of time.

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Another great recipe to get in your calcium requirements is seen on the Preppy Paleo. This recipe is for Maple Almond Salmon. Once again the recipe is using two sources of calcium, which is amazing. Coating fish in a crust is a good way for people that don’t eat a lot of fish or particularly like the texture of fish to enjoy it. I love almonds and salmon, so I will definitely have to try this one out. This recipe has a little lower average value of calcium, which would be around 250 mg for a serving. However you could definitely increase your amount by adding a side of broccoli to the dinner or a nice plate of collard greens, which pack in a total of 357 mg of calcium (wow, those Southerners sure now how to get that calcium in their diet).

Calcium is really easy to consume throughout the day as long as you are having balanced meals. One of the easiest ways to get a dose in with breakfast is to consume dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, or milk. However for those who don’t want to go the dairy path, focus on having an orange or a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. Other options include a vegetable omelet with spinach. Snacks are easy to because you can just grab an orange or a handful of nuts to take along with you.

Keep those bones and teeth strong and the heart pumping! Don’t forget to get your calcium in daily. A healthy reminder is that consuming calcium chews or multivitamins does not help you reach your daily value. When you consume those, they tend to go out of your body immediately through your urine. That means that you need to eat fresh foods daily in order to consistently reach your daily requirements!

What is your favorite source of calcium?
Do you have any good calcium rich recipes?

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WIAW: Westsville in NYC

Hey ya’ll! It is that awesome time of the week again, What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn. This week I have something special. My best friend and I met up with another friend of ours from Texas who also goes to Teacher’s College at Columbia. What a small world? We were in a Jewish youth group, BBYO, as youth, so it was a nice catch up, since the other girl was a few years older than us. We ended up going to this super cute place over in Chelsea called Westville. Now let me get on to the food.

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This place is overflowing with cuteness. Look at the menu. It made me feel like I was at school because it was handwritten on lined paper. I thought it brought a lot of fun to the restaurant and gave it a warm, welcoming environment. This was just one menu too. They had a regular menu underneath it. There was so many food options that it was really hard to decide. This menu was so cute though that I obviously had to get the market sides.

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Here is my beautiful plate of market sides. I feel like a bunny rabbit when I look at this plate. It is full of vegetables and tofu. It is also a really colorful plate, which is super important in having a healthy and balanced diet. It keeps you wanting to eat the healthy food by having it bright and colorful. You need variety in your diet in order to stick with choosing healthy choices.

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For one of my sides I got the Asian Style Bok Choy. It was just your regular bok choy that had been sauteed in some oil and topped with peanuts and spicy sauce. It was delicious. I love the way sauteed bok choy tastes. It gets so tender, which is a nice alternative to having to really crunch and chew on something. The sauce was really nice too. It wasn’t overly spicy, which I needed since I’ve been eating so much bibimbap with spicy red paste. I have cleared my sinuses way too much this week. I feel like a new person. Anways, Bok Choy. It was simple, but sometimes you need that in your life.

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This was the soy glazed tofu. I actually like how they presented this part of the dish. I was expecting to have a ton of small chopped up pieces of tofu, but then I was surprised when I saw two long pieces of pan-seared tofu on the plate. It had a light glaze of the soy, which was good because you do not want that overly salty taste to tofu. It was really crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. This was definitely one of the better cooked tofu dishes I have had at a restaurant (obviously nothing can replace my sesame tofu in Austin, but this was really good). This was my protein on the plate to go along with all the fiber that I was consuming. You always need to balance it out.

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This was definitely the star of the plate. Roasted beets with walnuts. I think I was in heaven. I could have eaten an entire plate of this. I forgot how much I loved beets. They are so soft and tender. When you stick them in your mouth, they just melt on your tongue. The walnuts gave a nice crunch to it and added a salty flavor to the sweetness of the beets. I gobbled these up in an instant. You could have gotten them with goat cheese, but I insisted on the walnuts because of the Vitamin E that they contain and they are a healthy source of fat. I will definitely be ordering this market side when I go back to Westville. I could not stop raving about this when I got home and talked to Carrianne. I was like the beets, OMG, so good. Who says that? I know my childhood self would not have. I’m adult Lindsay now who loves all her vegetables (even though when I was little, I actually had a pretty great palate for vegetables).

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Brussel sprouts? Man ya’ll must think I have gone crazy going after all the weird vegetables for dinner. To be completely honest, I was trying to be super healthy anyways because I am currently on prednisone for my arthritis, so I am intense with not consuming any bad things. For those of you that don’t know, prednisone makes you gain weight because it increases your appetite. Luckily every time that I take prednisone, I have never gained weight, but actually lost weight. As long as I stick to my good habits, I know I’m good. Anyways, FOOOOOD. Brussel sprouts. So delicious. What? Lindsay is liking all these vegetables that are usually disgusting. Ummm what? They are so good. Yes, now I’m having conversations with myself because I’m cool like that. These brussel sprouts came with a honey dijon sauce that was to die for. They were perfectly roasted and the sauce soaked into the leaves. It was great. I was so full after my meal because of all the fiber. Definitely a win win! Also all of that food was only 15$. What a steal!

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Isa and our friend Rachel ended up splitting a plate of sides and a salad. They ordered the pesto mash potatoes, which may have been one of the best things I have ever had. Pesto and mash potatoes. What a genius combination. They were so silky and soft. The pesto was mixed perfectly in the mash. They let me have a bite and I was so thankful. They also ended up getting sesame snow peas, polenta, and squash with quinoa. I think they were sad because they didn’t order the french fries (as was I because when I saw a girl across from us with them I was insanely jealous). They enjoyed the mash potatoes and snow peas, but the other two dishes left a little confusion.

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Pardon me for having a super blurry picture. This is the salad that they ended up splitting. It had arugula, pair, shredded mozarella, and a lemon oil sauce. It looked so good. It was also huge. They were like woah, thank god we are splitting this. I definitely would get a salad too next time to split with someone. That was the best way to go about things. Splitting a salad and market sides, that way you got to taste a whole bunch of choices. I can’t wait to go back here another time. Definitely a really great spot to go on a date. It was cute and cozy inside. Our friend, Rachel, said that the drinks were really good too and that the vegetarian burger was to die for. I will obviously be hitting it up for all of the reasons above. It was a nice night.

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I hope ya’ll have a great Wednesday. Mine is pretty eventful. I am getting all my lab testing done in applied physiology lab. That means I have to perform blood pressure, heart rate, skinfold, medical history, physical assessment, and breathing tests on a subject and get graded on it. So far I have gotten a 100 on my two other tests, so I think I am pretty good to go. I’ll leave you with this little gem of a minion. When Isa and I were walking to Westville, we saw this cute little guy in the window of a cake shop. I wanted to go in so bad, but I just wrote down the name, so I could go back when I’m off prednisone and it is a Saturday! Have an awesome day!

What is your favorite vegetable?
Where is your favorite place to go on a date?

Healthy Chicken Pho

Hey ya’ll! I have survived yet another midterm. These midterms are very interesting. Definitely not what I would expect from graduate school. Good news is that so far I have been kicking butt. I have a A++ in one of my classes. Go me! I’m pretty amazing, I think. Anyways I have a delicious recipe to share with ya’ll! It has been getting chilly lately up here in the Northeast, so there is a need to make soup and other warm things to keep me cozy. For today’s soup recipe, I have a healthy chicken pho soup. I love Asian food, so I obviously had to make an inspired soup from my favorite food genre.

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Healthy Chicken Pho

3-4 thin boneless chicken breasts
1-2 cups of bok choy
1 jalapeno
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups of chicken broth
3 green onions
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2 oz of whole wheat vermicelli

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1. Heat about 1-2 tsp of olive oil in a huge soup pot on medium to high heat. Then add in chopped up garlic for about 30 seconds.

2. In the meantime, chop up your chicken breasts into small pieces. Also prepare bok choy by cutting off the bottom of the stems.

3. Add the chicken and bok choy to cook for about 3-5 minutes until the chicken has become white.

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4. Add the chicken broth, green onions, and jalapeno to the pot and heat to a simmer. You should let this sit and cook for around 15 to 20 minutes.

5. While this is going on, you can cook your noodles in a separate pot. Cooking method depends on the type of noodles you have. Mine you just had to heat the water to a boil, turn off the heat, and let them sit in the water for 4 minutes (I got these noodles at Whole Foods, pretty cheap for a 5 servings of 2 oz of noodles).

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6. Add the rice vinegar and soy sauce to the soup pot. You can then add the noodles to the pot once you stir enough.

7. Remove and serve. You can top it with cilantro and sriracha based on personal preference (but ya’ll know I had to top mine with those goodies).

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Oh soup, you are so beautiful to me, can’t you see? I am in love with pho. While mine isn’t as gourmet or probably as delicious as what I’ve had in some Vietnamese restaurants, this definitely is a pretty good substitute for when I don’t want to pay or have to travel downtown to get some. I think I will be tweeking the recipe around to literally get the perfect soup, but I am happy with this one. I think dumplings would be perfect in it. That is probably what I will attempt to do next. It is a healthy option too. There is no calories in broth and the main calories come from the whole wheat noodles and the chicken. I didn’t put that much chicken in mine because I prefer vegetables over meat. That means I totally overloaded it with bok choy (I’m obsessed with bok choy – if you didn’t know).

I’m off to go work on a project. I hope ya’ll are having a pretty good week.

Have you ever had pho?
What is your favorite Asian dish?

Spicy Peanut Tofu with Bok Choy

Hey ya’ll! I have a total case of the Mondays. Actually I’m pretty wide awake since I got a total of 12 hours of sleep (yes I was in recovery from my birthday). I more have a case of the Mondays because it is Columbus day, but I have school. WHAT IS THIS COLUMBIA? I need this day off to recuperate and study for my first graduate school midterm. Oh well, luckily I’m a champion and will survive (even though I have my two most boring classes today). On to the good stuff though. RECIPE! Peanut tofu served with bok choy. Um yes. This was one delicious recipe, so lets get to sharing it!

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Spicy Peanut Tofu with Bok Choy

1/2 package of firm tofu
Bok Choy
Broccoli
1-2 tsp of olive oil
Green onion
3 T of Soy Sauce
2 T of prepared PB2
3 T of Rice Vinegar
1 T of Agave
2 T of Water
1-2 T of Sriracha

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1. Place olive oil in pan, turn on medium high heat, and toss in chopped up tofu.

2. Cook until crispy on most sides of the tofu. Then remove and place on a paper towel placed on a plate.

3. Add the rest of the olive oil, the bok choy, and broccoli. Cook until the bok choy has become wilted and has become crisp.

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4. Whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, water, soy sauce, and agave. Once it is thoroughly mixed, add in the sriracha. If you want it spicier, keep adding sriracha until you have the taste you want.

5. Place the tofu in the pan with the broccoli, turn the heat to low-medium, and add in the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce has thickened and thoroughly covered all of the tofu and vegetables. Then remove and it is ready to serve. Top with chopped up green onion.

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This dish is amazing. Not only is is extremely healthy for you, but it is packed with a ton of flavor. The spicy peanut sauce packs a kick, but has a subtle sweet flavor from the peanut butter. The green onion gives a nice addition to the sauce too. Bok choy and broccoli are definitely the best vegetables to go with this Asian inspired stir-fry. This makes a ton of food too depending on the amount of vegetables you add in. Of course ya’ll know I love vegetables, so I probably had way too much food. I ended up using this as my go to school packed dinner a couple of times because it was easy to pack in plastic ware and could be heated up in the graduate school microwave. Success. Everyone was always staring at me in class because the dish smelled so good. Definitely made a few people drool.

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Tofu is a good source of protein for those of you that don’t want to eat meat or just want an alternative source of protein a few days a week. Bok Choy is a very good vegetable to consume in your diet. It contains a wide variety of antioxidants, which protect against cancer and heart disease. It has a good amount of Vitamin C in it, which helps with immune function (I totally could use some of that right now – cold weather problems). Also it is a good source of folic acid, which is a really important nutrient in regards to pregnancy. You definitely aren’t losing out when you consume bok choy and broccoli since both are from the same family, it is as if you are getting a double dose of these healthy nutrients!

I hope ya’ll are having a great Monday! Enjoy my recipe.

What is your favorite tofu dish?
Do you eat a lot of peanut sauce on things?