Get Ready for a Healthy Halloween

It’s my favorite time of the year: autumn and the Halloween season! I love going apple picking, walking along the pumpkin patch, and using lots of cinnamon in my food. This is what autumn is all about, baby.

To help you celebrate this great harvest time and the changing of seasons, I’m putting together a series of fun Halloween themed recipes that are simple, yummy, and fun to make with kids in toe.

Here’s the first one!

Orange Bell Pepper Jack-o’-Lantern

Bell pepper jack o lantern

What’s both fun and functional? Bell pepper jack-o-lanterns, that’s what! You can make them on short notice because it only takes a few minutes, and they serve as a great decoration too.

Bell peppers are high fiber, and contain a slew of goodies to combat all the not-so-healthy halloween candy circulating at this time of year. Notably: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Manganese, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Magnesium. All that, and a wicked smile!

The Simple How-to Instructions

  • First, cut off the top of the bell pepper and remove any seeds from the inside.
  • Next, use a small knife to cut the eyes, nose, and mouth like you would a pumpkin.
  • You can use the jack-o-lantern pepper as a decoration until your guests are ready to bite into them.

My favorite use for these is to fill the peppers with dip. If you’re going to be putting out some dip for vegetable crudites, why not use an orange bell pepper dressed up like a jack-o’-lantern instead?

Stay tuned for the next 2 Halloween recipes!

I’ve got 2 more great healthy, raw Halloween recipes that both adults and kids will love coming up in the next week and a half. To make sure you don’t miss out, sign up to be notified by joining my free mailing list The Cue.

Love, Nathalie

Will You Go Nuts If You Eat Too Many Nuts?

When I first went raw, I jumped in with both feet and went 100% raw for 30 days. The first few weeks I found myself eating tons of nuts! I know it’s not uncommon for people transitioning to raw food to overeat nuts, so I decided to share my story and advice about nuts.

Why The Nuts?

Why do most of us immediately reach for the raw nuts and seeds when we switch to a raw diet?

1. We want to feel full.

Since nuts are solid, crunchy, and filling, we have a tendency to use them as a replacement for cooked food. For example, when I first went raw, I would still feel “hungry” after eating a generous salad. I’d eat a handful or two of nuts to get that semi-drowsy feeling I was missing.

2. Nuts are crunchy.

Of course another reason why we might overeat nuts at the beginning is that we miss that crunchy yummy sort of salty feeling. Nuts make a natural replacement for chips, popcorn, crackers, and other snacks. Here’s a quick tip if that’s why you’re reaching for the nuts: try crunching on some celery, or make kale chips!

3. It’s an easy snack food.

You don’t need to wash, cut, or blend anything to eat nuts. If you’re in a hurry or feeling tired, you can just open a jar or reach for a container of nuts and enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with this behavior, but if you’re overeating nuts you will want to prepare adequate snack foods in advance.

Remember that being prepared is half the battle when it comes to eating healthy foods.

Nuts: The Good and The Bad

On the one hand, nuts make us feel full because our body is expending energy trying to digest them. Nuts are harder to digest than fresh fruits and vegetables. In reality we probably wouldn’t be eating tons of nuts in nature, unless they were fresh and in season. How many of us live next to a Brazil nut tree? That’s what I thought.

Nuts have tons of great nutritious qualities, and I don’t think we should shun them entirely. The healthy oils found in nuts are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the brain, and for keeping your stress levels under control. Alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds and flax seeds.

Most people have an easier time digesting seeds than they do digesting nuts. Also, the reason why more people are allergic to nuts than seeds is that nuts tend to go rancid if kept on a shelf for too long a time.

The Nutty Conclusion

So what’s the verdict? No, you won’t go insane if you eat too many nuts. But try to limit yourself to one handful per day, since they are hard to digest. If you feel bloated or gassy after eating nuts, cut down.

Also, you should avoid eating nuts with fresh fruits since that will definitely cause some discomforts and gas!

Other than that, go nuts. :D

How to Pick a Good Watermelon

Summer is here, and that means hot days and refreshing watermelon slices.

How to Pick a Good Watermelon
Photo by Luke Robinson

Unfortunately, one of the reasons people don’t enjoy fruit as much as they could is they haven’t learned how to pick the freshest, ripest fruit.

With most fruit you can smell it, touch it and check for firmness… but with watermelon there’s another trick – tapping it like a drum. Basically what you’re doing is checking to see the water content of the melon: the higher the better.

So if the sound you get from lightly tapping a watermelon is deep, then you know it’s a good one. If you don’t hear much then move on to the next one.

Another good thing to check is how heavy the watermelon is. A heavier melon will have more water and that’s what you’re looking for!

My Watermelon Gum Story

A few months after I went raw, I remember having a conversation with a colleague about watermelon.

His stance was that watermelon had “no substance” and that you could just as easily chew a piece of watermelon gum and drink a glass of water, and get the same benefits as eating watermelon.

I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t the time or place, but my mind was screaming at the fallacy of this proposition.

There’s no way that chewing gum and drinking a glass of water has the same affect as eating watermelon.

I just know that intuitively, but let’s look at some hard data.

eating-watermelon
Photo by Sydney Marie

Watermelon has fiber and tons of nutrients that we just don’t appreciate at first glance.

Watermelon Nutritional Information

Here are just a few of the things that watermelon has going for it…

  • Good source of Vitamins C and A
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • High in antioxidants that fight free radicals
  • Contains more lycopene than most fruits and veggies, including tomatoes
  • Provides the body with potassium and magnesium
  • Very cleansing, alkalinizing, and mineralizing food

Many fruits have a lot of nutrition in the skin or rind, and it’s no different for watermelon… so don’t feel weird eating the white stuff, or juicing the rinds in your morning juice.

Enjoy the seasonal fruit!

Here’s to fresh, tasty, and juicy watermelon! Enjoy the seasonal fruit when it’s here, yum yum!

Love, Nathalie