Giving Into Your Cravings

I crave sugar literally all day every day. I don’t know anyone with a sweet tooth like mine. But instead of indulging in ice cream or cookies, I give into my cravings in a healthy way with healthy food. Check out this helpful guide on what to eat to satisfy your cravings without eating junk.


Substituting Sugar

Most people know how terrible sugar is for their health, but they don’t know just how bad it is. It has no nutrients, affects your liver and brain, and can lead to diabetes and heart disease. In this article, Kris Gunnars explains all of the ways sugar affects your body and why it’s bad for you.

Cutting down on sugar is always a good idea, but it’s not always easy to find sugar substitutes that taste good. Also, many popular sugar substitutes are made up of chemicals that are just slightly less bad for you than real sugar, or even worse in some ways. Here is a list of natural sugar substitutes that a re great for baking, cooking, and even drinks to help you cut down on sugar consumption.

Kombucha: The New Miracle Health Drink?

I like to try every health trend to decide for myself if it works or not. Recently I’ve heard a lot of raving about kombucha, a raw, carbonated, pro-biotic drink made from a fermented mushroom. Here you can read all about the amazing benefits kombucha can give your body. I drank a bottle a day for about two weeks and didn’t really notice any effects. Even if there were great effects, I don’t know if I could get past the vinegar smell and the dirt taste. Next time you’re at your local grocery store, grab a bottle of kombucha and see if it works for you.

The Superfood You Should Add to Every Meal

I’m a little skeptical when it comes to “superfoods” and the superfood craze, especially since so many nutritionists can’t agree on what defines a superfood and which foods meet the qualifications. However, if super foods are a thing, avocados are definitely one of them.

I’ve always loved avocado just for the taste, but after learning about all of their amazing health benefits, I’ve started eating them on a daily basis. First off, they’re filled with Vitamin E, which is composed of antioxidants, and Vitamin B6, which promotes skin health. Avocados also help your body absorb Carotenoids, which are high in Vitamin A and promote heart health. But the best thing about the avocado is that it’s full of monounsaturated fats. Many people avoid avocados because of their fat content, however, that is the reason you should be eating them. Monounsaturated fats are a good fat that can lower cholesterol, promote heart health, and will also keep you feeling full a lot longer and prevent you from over-eating.

Avocado is surprisingly easy to add to every meal. It can also be used to replace unhealthy ingredients. You can start your morning with these avocado pancakes which use no butter or oil thanks to the moisture of the avocado. My favorite avocado lunch recipe has to be chicken salad sandwiches. I use my favorite chicken salad recipe, which consists of shredded chicken, had boiled chopped eggs, apples, and bacon, and instead of mixing it with mayonnaise, I mix it with mashed avocado. Not only does it replace the bad fat from mayo with good fat from avocado, but it also just tastes a lot better.

Another one of my favorite recipes is avocado mac and cheese. I know it sounds slightly unappetizing, I thought so too at first, but it’s easily one of the best healthy mac and cheese substitutes I’ve ever tasted. You can find the recipe here. And to finish off your day of avocados, you can add avocado to your desserts. Avocado mixes well into frosting, cakes, cookies, popsicles, and just about every other dessert. Try out this recipe for dark chocolate avocado cookies for a healthy dessert alternative.

True Food Kitchen

When I heard that a True Food Kitchen was opening in Dallas, I knew I would have to go immediately. They have everything I could ever want in a restaurant; healthy, nutritious, and extremely delicious food. And I might have to say this is now my favorite restaurant.

True Food Kitchen was started on an anti-inflammatory diet based menu, but then expanded to dedicating themselves to health food in general, making their mission statement “honest food that tastes really good”. They even have portions of their menu dedicated to being vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. Those at True Food Kitchen are really dedicated to giving you food that’ll help you feel better, feel healthier, and feed your body with essential nutrients through their organic foods. You can read their “about” page here to better understand their goals for their food.

When I went to True Food Kitchen I was overwhelmed with the menu. I would’ve tried every item on the menu if I could have. Even their drinks are spectacular. I started with the seasonal sparkling tea which I now have dreams about because it was that good. For an appetizer I ordered the edamame dumplings which were served with a truffle oil and filled with an edamame puree. They were easily some of the best dumplings I’ve ever had and since they were steamed, unlike most dumplings which are fried, I didn’t have to feel guilty about eating them.

For my entree I ordered the asparagus and artichoke pizza. All of the toppings tasted fresh and everything was cooked perfectly. It was honestly one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, and it’s a recipe I’ll definitely try making at home in the near future. I finished my meal with a lemon tart that was topped with a strawberry and coconut whipped cream, which also tasted extremely fresh. Every component of the tart was made with fresh fruit rather than syrups or preserves.

While True Food Kitchen may be a bit pricey, the portions are large and I ended up making two meals out of what I ordered. And the price is worth the fresh, organic ingredients they use and the delicious, healthy dishes they prepare. And their menu is so extensive that almost anyone could find a food they would enjoy, so I would recommend True Food Kitchen to absolutely everyone in the Dallas area. It’s really that good.

My Network Neighborhood

Using Mention Mapp, I mapped out the connections of my favorite health restaurant in Dallas, True Food Kitchen. While maybe not a super node, it’s a pretty large node. You can see True Food Kitchen’s Twitter map here.

The Twitter map led me to find a few super node Twitters like Feed Me Dallas, a largely popular restaurant review website, which led me to an even larger super node, Eater in Dallas, a nation wide food blog that has a specialized website for each major city.

Editing Wikipedia

This seemed like the simplest blog post I’d ever have to do. Edit a wikipedia page and track it? Not a problem. I was wrong. It’s not that it was difficult, it was just extremely annoying.

First of all, finding a wikipedia page relevant to my blog topic that was really in need of an edit was next to impossible. Every page I tried had more than enough content, citations, and was free of grammatical errors. I was hoping I would be able to make an edit on a page that would actually add content and make a difference, but I shortly realized that wouldn’t be happening.

After a lot of searching, I came to the “Paleolithic Diet” page, which was slightly relevant to my blog topic since it’s a new diet fad that’s supposedly healthy. The paleo diet is essentially eating like a cave man. If you want to learn more about the paleo diet, Mercola does an excellent interview with Dr. Loren Cordain that explains the diet more in depth. After scanning, I saw a sentence that needed a citation. Finally, a page that actually needed an edit. I added in my citation and waited to see how the other users of Wikipedia would respond.

I was expecting a pretty fast response. While I did add an accurate citation, I changed the paragraphs. I edited the last sentence of one paragraph and accidentally deleted the space that made the next paragraph. So it was basically one huge block of text.

In the end, no one edited my edit and my citation still stands and you can see it here under the “Opposing Viewpoints” section. However someone did fix my giant paragraph to be two normal paragraphs. I believe the key to actively participating on Wikipedia is to edit only things that truly need editing, and only editing topics that you actually have some accurate knowledge about.

Make Your Salads More Fun

Most peoples tastebuds don’t tingle over the word “salad”. They see it as a boring diet food or something only rabbits would eat. However, salads can be a great way to eat healthy on a budget, and they don’t have to be boring or tasteless. Here you can find some of my favorite, fun salad recipes. I’ve made every single one and they’re all super tasty, easy to make, and far from boring.

St. Ann’s and How to Eat Their Food Every Day

Downtown Dallas is becoming a huge attraction to foodies like me. The new and exciting restaurants and bars have a welcoming atmosphere and menus to suit everyone. One of my most recent adventures was to St. Ann’s, which instantly stole my heart with not only the food, but the patio, architecture and gardens surrounding it. The whole restaurant/bar is beautiful and modern and the patio is always full of people.

Like I said, the restaurant stole my heart. The food, however, stole my soul. The variety at St. Ann’s is incredible and effortlessly exciting. If you check out any of their reviews, they’re all glowing. I highly recommend trying whatever sounds good, but I will also suggest a few things…

The appetizers are all very different. There are traditional ones, such as hummus or bacon wrapped, jalapeño-stuffed chicken, tons of delicious seafood options and soups. My absolute favorite is the Coconut soup, without a doubt. While I have a tendency to ask what the soup of the day is just to get the opportunity to try something new, I can’t stop ordering this soup. The shrimp, ginger, lemongrass, Thai basil and mushrooms are so rich and flavorful, they entice me every time. The sides are also fantastic: whenever I go with my mom we can’t decide between the sweet potato fries or the truffle fries, so we order both. No compromises at St. Ann’s, you’ll always get an excellent variety of food and drinks to create the perfect night or day out.

The entrées are all excellent as well. The whole menu changes depending on the season and what is fresh, especially because of the amount of seafood they serve. The food served has an extremely wide variety of health options and can cater to anyone’s needs. One specific entrée I recommend is the trout. I have a weakness for heirloom tomatoes and the way the trout is seasoned and cooked is so exquisite.

Go out, sit on the patio, order a few of their drinks (or try some of the local beers) and enjoy the very eccentric and very wonderful atmosphere provided at St. Ann’s. If Erica is working the bar, let her know I sent you.

With food this delicious, you’ll want to eat at St. Ann’s on a daily basis, but as a college student, that may not be an option financially. However, you can recreate their menu right in your dorm for a fraction of their prices.

For an appetizer, you can start with my favorite hummus recipe from Budget Bytes, or any of the four flavor variations that are included on the recipe page. It only takes 10 minutes to make, and the total cost of groceries ends up being a little over 5 dollars. The recipe calls for a blender, but if you’re dedicated you can easily make it by hand. This recipe is great for pairing with your favorite veggies or pita chips.

If hummus isn’t for you, you can also mimic St. Ann’s delicious coconut soup. I recently made my own coconut chicken soup and it’s become my absolute favorite dorm friendly recipe. As many soup recipes as I’d like to try, I always end up making this soup because it’s just that good. The grocery list and pricing is as follows:

  • 4 inches of fresh, ground ginger ($1.12)

  • 1 medium lime ($0.50)

  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce (no price b/c I usually steal it from my roommate)

  • 2 cans of coconut milk ($3.38)

  • 1 can of chicken broth ($1.25)

  • 3 cups of water

  • 2 chicken breasts ($6.48)

  • 1 bunch of cilantro ($0.69)

All you have to do is add all of the ingredients except the chicken breast into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Then you add the thinly sliced chicken breast and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. The longer you simmer it, the more flavor the soup will have, but be careful not to overcook and dry out the chicken. This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup, so its great to make in bulk and reheat throughout the week.

Budget Bytes also gives you a way to copy St. Ann’s tilapia entree. Try out this recipe for baked tilapia with tomatoes, which is not only affordable, but extremely healthy and nutritious as well.

And to finish your St. Ann’s meal, instead of their lemon tart with pine nut crust, try this lighter, lower fat version of a lemon tart recipe with a delicious rosemary almond crust.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Kale Chips

Now don’t get me wrong, I love kale. I love everything about kale. Not only is kale filled with antioxidants, vitamin k, and other nutrients that you can read about here, but you can do so many things with it; salads, stir-fries, and my personal favorite, chips. But as good as kale chips are, you shouldn’t buy them.

During a recent trip to my local Whole Foods, I came across bags of pre-packaged kale chips, which I had never seen before. They were in delicious, tempting flavors like barbecue, ranch, and sea salt and vinegar. But as I reached for a bag to add to my cart, my eyes scanned the price tag. Nine dollars? For a tiny package of kale chips that I would eat in one sitting? And even worse, the full size bags were starting at eleven dollars. But the health nut in me couldn’t resist so I splurged and bought a small pack anyways. Mistake. I was highly disappointed. The ranch flavor was extremely artificial and overly salty, and the kale wasn’t crisp and flaky like fresh baked kale. It was crunchy, almost like granola. Overall, the pre-packaged kale chips had absolutely no resemblance to the fresh kale chips I had eaten elsewhere. I decided to try another brand around the same price (I couldn’t find many cheaper options that looked any better) to see if the extra money would be worth the pre-packaged convenience, but I came across the same problems; artificial flavor and artificial texture for an insanely high price.

Buying pre-packaged kale chips just isn’t worth it. Rather than buying a large bag of chips for eleven dollars, you can buy one bunch of organic kale for two dollars, which will make a large bags worth. All you need is one bunch of kale, an oil of your choice, and seasonings of your choice. And if you’re nervous about finding a good kale chip flavor, you can follow my favorite kale chip recipe. Your homemade chips will be more fresh, delicious, and cost effective than buying kale chips off the shelf.