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7 Unhealthy Holiday Drinks


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 18-12-2016

Over the holidays, most of us look forward to taking a break from work to enjoy ourselves with family and friends.

Holiday parties, family get togethers, and evenings out are great for securing our social connections, but if we’re not careful, it can also do serious damage to our health.

Of course, no one wants to be told to count calories this time of year, but consider this: researchers recently reported that in all three countries studied (United States, Germany, and Japan), people gained weight around the holidays. Worse, half of that weight gain was still there the following summer.

Other studies have shown similar results. In 2000, for example, researchers found that weight increased significantly during the holiday period as compared with the rest of the year, and was not reversed during the spring or winter months.

In other words, gaining a pound or two would be no big deal if we were able to lose it come January, but that’s not what usually happens. Instead, at least some of that weight—and usually more than we think—ends up hanging around for good. Year after year, we gain a little more, increasing the risk that within five to ten years, we will become overweight and have to deal with all the health consequences that go with that.

It’s not only the middle-aged or older that have to worry about it, either. A University of Oklahoma study found that even college students weren’t immune to weight gain over the holidays. In other words, it starts early.

So how do we keep a lid on calorie count without taking all the joy out of the holiday season? There’s one really simple thing you can do.

Cut back on the fancy drinks.

Beautiful row line of different colored alcohol cocktails with mint on a open air party martini vodka with bubblesand others on decorated catering bouquet wedding table on open air event in night

Yes, they’re tasty and they’re often warm and cozy, too, but most are chocked full of calories, sugar, and other unhealthy things. Outside of holiday candy and treats, special holiday drinks are often to blame for winter weight gain.

That means if you can avoid them for the next few weeks, you could skate through the holidays without gaining a pound. And you don’t always have to abstain completely—in many cases, you can substitute a healthier but just-as-tasty alternative.

Why not give it a try this year?

7 Unhealthy Holiday Drinks—and Tips to “Make Them Better”

Following are seven of the most common unhealthy drinks served at the holidays. We tell you why they’re bad for you, and how if you can’t resist, you can “make them better.”

In general, when trying to watch your weight, avoid drinks with cream in them, and those with dessert names (like pumpkin pie). These usually have more calories than others. Choose a small size, and ask your beverage maker to “make it skinny.” Finally, if you make them at home, you can better control the fat and sugar content.

#1 – Full-Fat Eggnog

Yes, it’s traditional and it’s tasty, but one cup has about 340 calories, 19 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar. It takes about an hour of exercise to burn off that many calories.

For the average 2,000 calorie daily intake, the recommended fat intake is 65 grams, which means that one cup of egg nog spends about 30 percent of your daily allotment. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 37.5 grams of sugar a day for men, and 25 grams a day for women. That one cup of eggnog pretty much shoots that, too.

If you add any sort of alcohol to that cup, you’re only increasing the damage. An eggnog latte is worse. The typical tall size from Starbucks—even if you use skim milk—will cost you 350 calories and a whopping 39 grams of sugar.

To make it better: Make a regular cup of coffee and add a little eggnog to it, using it like cream. Or, mix it with low-fat milk in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of milk to eggnog to lighten up on the fat, sugar, and calories. Look for low-fat eggnog alternatives, or make your own healthier nog at home using low-fat milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

#2 – Peppermint Mocha & Pumpkin Spice Latte

The peppermint mocha is one of the most popular drinks over the holidays, and unfortunately so because if you choose the regular 16-ounce size, you’ll swallow 470 calories and 22 grams of fat, including 13 grams of unhealthy saturated fat.

ice honey pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream

The pumpkin spice latte is not much better, with 410 calories and 17 grams of fat per 16-ounce serving. In fact, it’s best if you think of most specialty coffee drinks as treats rather than coffee.

Enjoy them occasionally for dessert if you like, but don’t think of them as replacement for your regular morning jolt of caffeine. If you are addicted, try these adjustments.

To make it better: Order the small size, skip the whipped cream, and use nonfat milk. That will take you down to about 220 calories and 2 grams of fat, and will save you the saturated fat. Ask your server for the “skinny” version, which typically includes skim milk and sugar-free syrup.

#3 – White Russian and Mudslide

Smooth and creamy, these are treasured holiday favorites, but boy will they do a number on your waistline if you let them. They typically contain Kahlua, vodka, and heavy cream. One white Russian, for example, contains about 360 calories.

A Mudslide (white Russian with the addition of Bailey’s Irish Cream and chocolate syrup) can be as high as 755 calories at Applebee’s, along with 32 grams of fat and 80 grams of sugar. It’s better if you think of this one as a shake rather than a side beverage. Plus, the mudslide usually contains high fructose corn syrup in that chocolate syrup, which studies show is even more likely to be fattening than regular sugar.

Other versions that include half-and-half instead of heavy cream come down to about 300 calories.

To make it better: Try a “skinny” white Russian, which usually contains skim milk and weighs in at about half the calories. You can also make one yourself with vodka, Kahlua, and almond milk or coconut milk (instead of regular milk) and save yourself calories and fat. One made like this is only about 180 calories.

#4 – Hot Chocolate

Surely this one is innocent?

Well, it depends on what kind you get, or make. The ready-mix kinds usually aren’t bad on calories—around 120 to 150 per cup—but they are typically full of sugar, preservatives, and partially hydrogenated fats.

If you get it at a coffee shop or specialty shop, it may be even worse. Panera’s hot chocolate, for instance, which comes with caramel sauce and chocolate chip marshmallows, is about 490 calories with 62 grams of sugar. Starbuck’s grande hot chocolate isn’t much better, at 400 calories and 43 grams of sugar, and Dunkin’ Donuts medium hot chocolate will give you 330 calories and 43 grams of sugar.

To make it better: If you make your own cup with low-fat milk and real unsweetened cocoa powder (add in a pinch of sugar and a drop of vanilla extract for flavor), you’ll end up with about 200 calories and you won’t have all the preservatives and partially hydrogenated fats. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of the healthy antioxidants in the chocolate.

At the coffee shop, ask for the skinny version made with skim milk and skip the whipped cream.

#5 – Hot Buttered Rum

This treat is made from rum, butter, hot water or cider, sweetener (usually brown sugar), and spices. Sometimes, ice cream is added.

It’s popular around the holidays because it’s warm and soothing and has a rich flavor. As you can imagine, however, the butter adds fat and calories, so that the typical serving comes in at about 350 calories and 12 grams of fat, of which about 7.5 are saturated fat (more than a third of the recommended daily intake).

To make it better: Cocktail experts recommend using Butter Buds (a butter substitute) in place of real butter to cut down on fat and calories. You can also use an alternative sweetener, and stay with water instead of cider to slim it down even more.

#6 – Margarita

Though popular at any time, this drink (triple sec, tequila and lime or lemon juice) can become even more popular during the holidays when bartenders add special flavors like cranberry, spices, pomegranate, chocolate, and more. One serving can contain up to 450 calories, though, mostly because of the high sugar content.

margarita cocktail with lime and raspberries on nature background

Frozen options are usually worse, and can raise the calorie-count to 500 or more.

To make it better: Ask your bartender to use less triple sec or Cointreau, to cut back on the tequila to reduce calories, and to use fresh lime juice instead of the sweetened version. Nix the sugar and sweetened syrup, and dilute it a bit with zero-calorie soda water.

#7 – Tom and Jerry

This cocktail is made of eggs, milk, sugar, rum, brandy, and spices, and is usually served hot. It packs about 340 to 460 calories per eight-ounce glass. Some call it the “souped-up eggnog” because it lands in about the same category when you’re talking about calories, fat, and sugar.

To make it better: You can ask for skim milk to cut down on calories and fat, and for low-calorie sweetener.

5 Healthier Alternatives

To make it easier to enjoy a nice beverage without having to worry about “making it skinny,” try these healthier alternatives that are much less likely to expand your waistline. Some also provide nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

#1 – Champagne

These are typically much more reasonable in calorie counts—about 100 calories per glass—and contain little to no added sugar. You also get the healthy polyphenols from the grapes. Just be careful of the bubbles—they can cause headaches in some people and aren’t good for your teeth, so be sure to rinse after the party’s over.

#2 – Wine

Similar to champagne, wine has only about 100 calories per serving, and has healthy antioxidants that can fight free radical damage and reduce risk of disease.

Red and white wine pouring in glass on brown background

Red wine contains resveratrol, which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Just don’t overdo it. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two per day for men.

#3 – Coconut Water Kefir

Coconut water is a delicious and refreshing low-calorie natural thirst-quencher. Research shows that it can help with hydration, diabetes, heart health and more. The natural goodness of coconut water is further increased with the probiotics added from the water kefir culture.

#4 – Hot Toddy

This traditional holiday drink is made with tea, lemon, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and brandy. One serving usually contains about 150 ­– 160 calories, but can be high in sugar, so cut back on the honey if you can. You’re also getting the healthy antioxidants in the tea and all the spices, which are known to help reduce risk of disease.

#5 – Sparkling Water

This is a good choice anytime, but unique flavors can give you the feeling that you’re indulging yourself over the holidays without hurting your health. Inside you’ll find carbonated water and often vitamin C, especially in flavors like pomegranate and lime. Regular sparkling water contains no calories, and most flavored versions don’t either, but it’s always best to check or to ask. Sometimes adding real fruit to plain sparkling water is your best bet.

If you want to know what foods will help you shape up and shed inches while providing natural cure to illnesses, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS


5 Tasty Gluten Free Turkey Dishes For Your Holiday Feast


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 22-11-2016

We’ve already celebrated our Thanksgiving here in Canada. But if you are from USA, I know you are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.

Today, I will share some gluten free turkey dishes you can prepare for the holiday. 

Enjoy the recipes!

It’s nearly time for Thanksgiving and you’re getting ready to prepare a delicious holiday feast. You’ve got the classic Thanksgiving menu in mind; the traditional roasted turkey filled with stuffing, served with thick gravy and accompanied by a selection of side dishes.

Only now, you no longer eat gluten. In your mind, you say an emotional goodbye to the bread-based stuffing of your childhood, the gravy thickened with flour and, well, just bread in general. Then, you ask yourself (whilst trying not to hyperventilate): “What’s Thanksgiving without the stuffing-filled turkey and the thick gravy!? What am I going to do now?!”

But don’t worry. It’s actually surprisingly easy to make sure your holiday feast is gluten-free. In fact, you (and your other guests) probably won’t even notice!

The good news is that the superstar of any Thanksgiving menu, the fresh turkey, is always gluten-free, as long as it hasn’t had anything added to it. Even spice mixes, herbs-coatings and sauces can contain hidden gluten, but if you add the extras yourself, it’s easy to keep an eye on the ingredients and ensure that your holiday menu’s ‘main event’ is definitely gluten-free.

Stuffed turkey breast with baked vegetables and spices against holiday lights background.

With regards to the stuffing, you can either just omit the stuffing altogether or make a gluten-free stuffing that you and all your guests can enjoy. Similarly, the gravy can be thickened with a gluten-free alternative to conventional flour or can be thickened in another way, such as through the reduction method.

But let’s focus on the most important thing – the turkey. Get ready for five super-simple and delicious gluten-free turkey dishes that will be the star of any holiday feast.

#1 – Simple Roast Turkey

As previously mentioned, fresh turkey is inherently gluten-free. If you just roast the turkey as it is, placing lemons inside the cavity instead of stuffing, that’s as simple as it gets. Just brush the turkey with oil, sprinkle with herbs and roast it in the oven. Taste of Home’s recipe [1] is one of the most simple and delicious recipes out there and proves that you don’t have to make things complicated to enjoy a gluten-free Thanksgiving.

You will need:

  • 1 turkey, weighing around 10-12 lbs
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of sage

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to cut the turkey skin in a few places, in order to insert the garlic cloves underneath. Then, cut the lemons in half. Squeeze the juice from one lemon inside the bird and the juice from the other all over the bird. Put all the lemon halves inside the cavity.

The recipe then advises that the wings should be tucked under and the drumsticks tied together. The bird should then be placed in a roasting pan, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and roasted for approximately 1 hour.

After 1 hour has passed, the turkey should be covered with foil and roasted for a further 2 hours or more, basting occasionally, until a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170-175 degrees.

When the turkey is removed from the oven, it should be left to stand for 20 minutes before carving.

You can then use the dripping to make gravy (just don’t add any flour).

#2 – Herby Turkey Breast

If you’re not feeding a huge crowd this Thanksgiving, why not cook a turkey breast instead? It’s a lot quicker to cook than a whole bird and a delicious herb-coating will give so much flavour to the meat. Plus, by making it yourself, you’ll have complete control over the ingredients to ensure the coating is completely gluten-free. The following recipe from Flavor The Moments [2] contains less than 10 ingredients but is still mega-tasty.

You will need:

  • A turkey breast, weighing approx. 3lbs (bone in, skin on)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all the herbs, garlic, oil and other seasonings in a bowl to create a ‘rub’. Cover the turkey breast with this mixture, including underneath the skin. Place in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Full Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner with Turkey Stuffing Veggies and Potatos

#3 – Turkey Roulade with Basil Pea Pesto

This quick and delicious turkey dish by The Petite Cook [3] will add a fresh and vibrant element to any Thanksgiving dinner. Basil pea pesto is not something you typically associate with fall and Thanksgiving, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing a few summer vibes and a little Italian flare to your table.

You will need:

  • 1 large skin-on turkey thigh, weighing approx. 2.2lbs, deboned
  • 1 cups of fresh or frozen peas, steamed
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1lb fresh green beans, steamed (to serve)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Flatten the turkey thigh with a meat tenderizer to an even thickness of about 1 inch.

Place the peas, basil, lemon zest, olive oil and seasoning into a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Spread the pesto on top of the turkey leg, leaving a 1 inch border at the edges.

Roll the turkey gently up and over the pesto filling and then secure with kitchen string.

Seal the roulade by searing all sides on a very hot cast iron pan. Then transfer the turkey to the oven and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before cutting the roulade into thick slices. Spoon over the pan juices and serve with steamed green beans.

#4 – Spatchcock (Butterflied) Turkey

If you want to cook a whole turkey, but in less time… this one is for you. Fans of this cooking method say that it leads to the crispiest skin and the juiciest meat, but don’t just take their word for it! Plus, because it’s just fresh turkey, it’s completely gluten-free. This recipe from All Recipes [4] has really simple flavours and would go perfectly with your favourite traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.

You will need:

  • 1 turkey weighing 10-12 lbs
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper

First, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then start to prepare the turkey. You’ll need to turn the turkey over, breast side down and use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along one side of the back bone. Then repeat on the other side and remove the backbone.

Continue to flatten the turkey by pressing down on both sides of the breast bone until you hear a crack. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts and place the turkey on a rack. Brush with oil and then season with salt, pepper and herbs.

Roast the bird for 1 hour and 30 minutes, then baste and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven when a thermometer, inserted in the thickest part, reads 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest before carving.

Roasted small turkey for celebration Thanksgiving day in roasting pan on old rustic wooden table. Stuffed with couscous with a fig prunes dried apricots almonds and pine nuts

#5 – Cajun Spiced Turkey

If simple flavours aren’t your thing, you can always spice up your Thanksgiving (see what I did there) with something a little different, thanks to this recipe from Epicurious [5]. Coating your turkey with Cajun spices is a great way to add loads of flavour, without adding any gluten. Just make sure that you make your own spice mix or, if you do choose to buy one, check the ingredients thoroughly to make sure there’s no hidden gluten.

You will need:

  • 1 turkey, weighing 12-14 lbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of Cajun spice mix
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup of olive oil

Massage the spice mix into the skin of the turkey. Then transfer the turkey, breast-side down, into a prepared pan (with a rack) and refrigerate overnight, uncovered. The next day, remove the turkey from the fridge and allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the celery, pepper and onion in a mixing bowl and then insert this mixture into the cavity of the turkey. If there is any remaining, add these to the bottom of the roasting pan.

Brush the turkey with oil and roast it for up to an hour, basting occasionally. Then flip the turkey and continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees. This will usually be after an additional 60-90 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you and your loved ones enjoy your gluten-free Thanksgiving holiday feast!

If you want to know what foods will help you shape up and shed inches while providing natural cure to illnesses, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS


Garlic Rosemary Turkey Recipe from Taste of Home – http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/garlic-rosemary-turkeySimple Herb

Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast from Flavor The Moments – http://flavorthemoments.com/simple-herb-garlic-roasted-turkey-breast/

Turkey Roulade with Basil Pea Pesto from The Petite Cook – http://www.thepetitecook.com/turkey-roulade-with-basil-pea-pesto/Roast Spatchcock

Turkey Recipe from All Recipes – http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-spatchcock-and-roast-a-turkey/

Cajun Spiced Turkey from Epicurious – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cajun-spiced-turkey-368270


5 Spooky Snacks that are Delicious and Nutritious


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 28-10-2016

Halloween is a wonderful holiday to celebrate, full of costumes and horror movies and things that go bump in the night. Many people also associate this occasion with the sugary morsels their kids bring home after an enthusiastic night of trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but those are rarely the healthy choices that any of us want hanging around in the pantry.

People might not be able to get away with hiding their kids’ treasure trove of snacks (or throwing them away entirely!), but at least everyone can make healthy choices when it comes to their own diets.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just spending the evening at home alone, watching a horror movie marathon in the dark, you can whip up some of these wonderfully creepy snacks to liven up your night. Not only are they spook-tastic, they’re delicious, nutritious, and ideal for an anti-inflammatory diet.


#1 – Blood-Red Beet “Hummus”

Legumes are a great big “no” when one is avoiding inflammatory foods, and since hummus is made from garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), that delicious dip has to be taken off the menu, much to many people’s dismay.

Beet hummus is a surprisingly delicious alternative to that beany spread: beets have an earthy flavor similar to that of chickpeas, but don’t have any inflammatory components. Rich in iron, folate, potassium, and vitamin B6, these root vegetables are as tasty as they are good for you. When you transform them into a hummus-style dip, the end result is a deep, purple-red concoction that couldn’t be more perfect for a Halloween buffet table.


  • 2 cups roasted beets, peeled and diced (about 8 medium or 10 small beets)
  • The juice of 1 or 2 lemons, depending on how lemony you’d like this to be
  • 3 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon *tahini (optional: omit if you’re eliminating all seeds and nuts)
  • Salt to taste


To roast the beets, preheat your oven to 375F, place each beet in a square of aluminum foil, and coat the roots lightly with olive oil. Wrap them up tightly, place onto a baking sheet, and cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on their size (smaller beets need less time in the oven).

Remove the sheet, allow the beets to cool for a good 15 minutes, then peel them, dice them, and pop them into your blender or food processor.

Add the rest of your ingredients and process until smooth. Taste the dip and adjust the salt and lemon juice if desired, then scoop out into a bowl and serve with raw vegetable crudités, dehydrated root vegetable chips, or endive spears.

*Note: if you do use tahini in this recipe, try to find black tahini at your local Middle Eastern grocery store. It’ll make the dip a deep, dark blood red—ideal for your spooky get together.

#2 – Spiderweb Eggs

These little protein bombs can be served two ways: whole, as hardboiled eggs to just bite into, or devilled. If you’re going to serve them whole, go for the smallest size eggs possible so they’re practically bite-sized. If you’re aiming to make them devilled, aim for large or extra large so they hold a lot of filling.


  • A dozen small eggs with white shells
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries or blackberries
  • 8 cups of water
  • Black, grey, or red salt


To hard-boil your eggs, place them in a single layer inside a large cooking pot, and cover with the water and frozen blueberries. Turn on the heat, bring the water to a rolling boil, then remove the pot from the burner, cover it, and let it stand for 15 minutes.
Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, and tap each of them in a couple of places with a soup spoon: you’re aiming for a round depression with thin crack lines radiating outwards from the centre.

Place the eggs back into the blueberry water, and put the pot in the fridge overnight, or for 8 to 12 hours. Then, gently peel the shells off: the cracks will have absorbed pigment from the blueberry water and have dark grey “spiderwebs” on them.

When you serve these, pour a little bit of the grey, black, or red salt in a little dish and place that nearby for people to sprinkle them over their eggs.

If you can’t get your hands on frozen blueberries, or if you’d rather that the “webs” on your eggs are dark brown instead of grey, you can steep the cracked eggs in strong-brewed decaf black tea instead of the blueberry water.


#3 – Deviled Option

If you’re using large eggs instead and would like to make them “deviled”, you can make them even spookier by using mashed or pureed avocado instead of mayonnaise or yogurt.


  • A dozen large hard-boiled spiderweb eggs, sliced in half lengthwise (use the same preparation process as above for the small eggs)
  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • A pinch of garlic or onion salt
  • Salt
  • Optional: Flying fish or salmon roe as a garnish


Use a spoon to remove the cooked yolks from your hard-boiled eggs, and place the contents into your blender or food processor. Add in the scooped-out flesh from your avocados, toss in the garlic or onion salt, lime/lemon juice, and a bit of salt, and combine until smooth.

Adjust the salt if needed, then use a teaspoon (or a piping bag) to fill the hollowed-out cooked eggs with this filling. If desired, sprinkle a bit of black or grey salt on top, or garnish with a tiny spoonful of orange or red fish eggs.

The combination of green goop inside spiderweb-fleshed egg makes for a perfectly themed snack: food doesn’t get much spookier looking than this!

#4 – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

If you carve a pumpkin (or three) this Halloween, don’t throw out the seeds! They’re packed with so much protein, zinc, magnesium, and healthy omega-3 fat that it would be a travesty to just toss them away!


  • Seeds from the pumpkin you’ve carved
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • *Optional: garlic powder


Remove as much pumpkin flesh and stringy bits from the seeds as possible, and then rinse them thoroughly in a fine-mesh colander or strainer. Rub them dry with a clean towel and set them aside on some paper so they dry out a thoroughly as possible.

Preheat your oven to 300F.

In a bowl, toss the dried, clean pumpkin seeds with a couple of tablespoons of high-quality olive oil, and either sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.

You can use as much or as little salt as you like, or to suit your dietary restrictions. The seeds are delicious on their own so they don’t need too much seasoning. That said, some people like to toss in a little bit of garlic powder, but that’s entirely up to you.

Spread the seeds in a single layer on a shallow, non-stick baking sheet, and then bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are a beautiful golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down completely before transferring them to a serving bowl or container. They’re wonderfully crunchy morsels that have far more nutrient density than popcorn or chips, and the more pumpkins you carve, the more seeds you’ll have to snack on.


#5 – Spider Guts Smoothie

Adults and kids alike love these smoothies, which are sweet and creamy and packed with nutrients. Some people call them “grasshopper” smoothies, but if you’re aiming for a more seasonal name, you can’t get much creepier than implying that they’re made from frothy spider guts.

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned (organic) pineapple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mango or kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup avocado cubes
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup ice

Place all the ingredients in your blender and process on high until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses and serve, preferably with a little toy spider clinging to the glass.

If you want to discover what foods will help you restore your natural vitality and get slim and stay slimwhile ending your muscle and joint pain, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Rick Kaselj, MS


6 Nutritious Cool Weather Comfort Foods


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 23-10-2016

Hey, I hope you had a great weekend.

Over here in Canada, we are deep into the Fall season. The kids and I have been exploring our town by playing Pokémon GO. It has been fun discovering new areas.


Today, I will share some comfort food ideas that will help get you through the brisk fall season.

As the weather chills and the sun sets earlier in the day, it’s always comforting to have a warm, homey meal in the evening. You don’t have to spend tons of money or perform any fancy kitchen tricks to get the flavors and textures you love. Most comfort foods can be prepared using a few basic ingredients. Here are some ideas for concocting your next cool weather comfort meal.

#1 – Soup

Hot soup is a staple for cool weather and an optimal combination of cheap, easy, and nutritious. Vegetable soup provides tons of delicious nutrients and is typically low in calories. Soup that contains meat or grains add bulk, protein, and minerals to make you feel fuller longer.


One major drawback of soup is the potential for high sodium and saturated fat content. Canned and premade soup is usually loaded with salt to enhance flavor, while creamed, cheesy, and chowder varieties contain higher fat content due to the added milk products.

To help control nutritional quality, try making your own from scratch. In a quart pot, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and sauté one half of a diced onion. Then, add a diced carrot and diced celery stalk and sauté for about five minutes. Once the vegetables are tender, throw in other vegetables such as mushrooms, peas, or corn and pour about two cups of low sodium vegetable stock. To bulk up the soup with fiber and protein, add lentils, beans, or hearty grains and shredded or diced meat such as lean chicken, turkey, or beef. Don’t forget the bay leaf and your favorite combination of spices.

#2 – Chili

Chili is one of soup’s chunky, tomato-based cousins. It’s perfect for slow cooker meals, delicious leftovers, or slopped between two Kaiser buns. Chili is hearty enough to be a main course but also can be enjoyed as a side to compliment other flavors and textures.

The basic ingredients for a reliable chili dish are:

  • Ground beef
  • Kidney beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Salt

There are plenty of variations depending on your taste and tolerance to heat. For example, you can decrease the overall fat content by substituting ground turkey for ground beef. You can also add pinto beans, diced green bell pepper, and ground cayenne pepper for an extra kick. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and eat with a spoon or corn tortilla chips.

#3 – Stew

Stew is a cross between hearty soup and a classic meat and potato dish. Like chili, stew is easily prepared in a slow cooker but can also be heated on the stove or roasted in the oven. Stew is most commonly made with large chunks of beef. You can usually find packaged beef stew meat at any major grocery store. If not, you want to select either chuck or round cuts because they are tougher, leaner cuts that yield mouth-watering tender results.


If beef isn’t your preference, you can always substitute boneless lamb shoulder, spicy Italian sausage, or even pork belly. For a high-protein vegetarian option, try chickpeas, black beans, or quinoa instead of meat.

Whichever protein source you use, you can get that classic stew flavor by adding potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, and salt. As for the liquid component, you can add low-sodium beef, chicken, or vegetable stock and a dab of tomato paste or Worcestershire sauce. Keep some warm Italian bread handy to sop up the broth at the end!

#4 – Classic Meat and Potatoes

There is absolutely nothing like the smell of a pot roast cooking in the oven and the texture of cheesy sliced potatoes with a slight crisp and tang. Classic meat and potato dishes bring instant warmth and comfort to the most dreadful of days and channel instant feelings of being home.

The best part about these dishes is that you either stick to the basics for a quick and easy meal, or you can jazz them up and play around with your favorite flavors and seasonings. For example, instead of the classic beef chuck or pork loin, try a rib roast, lamb leg, or flat-cut brisket. Instead of a simple baked potato, consider roasted red skinned potatoes encrusted with parmesan, fingerlings drizzled in lemon juice, or yellow potatoes au gratin. Just go easy on the butter and salt and add some colorful vegetables to balance the nutrient content of the whole meal.

The “meat” of the meal doesn’t necessarily have to come from an animal, however. You can always showcase hearty portabella mushrooms, eggplant, turnips, and winter squash. Try marinating the main veggies in olive oil and garlic or crusting them with a rub of fennel, black peppercorn, and salt.

#5 – Casseroles

The term “casserole” implies that a dish is cooked slowly in the oven. Growing up, you may have been overstuffed with green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, tuna noodle casserole, shepherd’s pie, and lasagna. Though these are wonderful tastes of home, consider experimenting with more vegetables and grains and less butter, cheese, and breading.


For instance, try substituting thinly sliced zucchini for lasagna noodles and loading up your dish with nutrient-rich greens like broccoli, spinach, and kale. Although cheese makes any meal taste delicious, you really don’t need that much to create a savory, creamy texture. Play around with interesting, more pronounced cheeses and grate them sparingly throughout the layers instead of simply slathering your meat and veggies with gobs of shredded mozzarella.

Here are a couple modern casserole ideas that serve as complete meals packed with nutrients:

  • Chicken breast, quinoa, and broccoli with Gruyere cheese
  • Spinach and artichoke in a light alfredo sauce
  • Lentil enchilada with corn, beans, and avocado
  • Lean ground turkey with kale and whole grain pasta

The possibilities are endless! Just combine your favorite lean meat, vegetables, low-sodium broth, spices, and a small dose cheese or cream, throw it all in the oven or slow cooker, and presto! You have yourself a hearty meal and leftovers for days.

#6 – Pasta

Even if you didn’t grow up in an Italian family, you can certainly appreciate the versatility and reliability of a classic pasta dish. The hardest part about making pasta is deciding which type of noodle to use. The general rule of thumb is to use light noodles for light sauces and meats and heartier noodles for heartier sauces and meats. Here’s an example of how to appropriately pair some of the most common noodles:

  • Macaroni isn’t just for kids, but it does have an uncanny ability to hold cheese. This type of pasta is perfect for cold salads, hot casseroles, or baked alongside your favorite meat and veggies.
  • Penne, which has a smooth surface, is perfect for stickier sauces, and its sibling penne rigate, which has a rippled surface, can pick up more butter and oil.
  • Rotini is a tightly wound spiral that can easily capture thick sauces and bits of meat for flavor-loaded bites.
  • Rigatoni is a staple for heartier sauces and meats. You’ll frequently find this noodle in southern Italian dishes.
  • Farfalle, also known as bow tie pasta, is great in creamy dishes, cold salads, and hot soups.
  • Capellini, or angel hair pasta, is rather dainty and should be paired with oil-based sauces, pesto, light cheese dishes, and tossed with vegetables.
  • Fettuccine is usually found smothered in alfredo sauce with shrimp or scallops, but it is hearty enough to handle heavier meat sauces like Bolognese.
  • Linguini is a relative to fettuccine and commonly paired with seafood and clam sauce. Like it’s cousin, it can also take on the heavier meats and powerful tomato-based sauces.

There are so many types of noodles, and even more when you consider the Asian varieties. To keep your pasta dish balanced and nutritious, opt for extra virgin olive oil over butter, select leaner cuts of meat, use cheese moderately and more as a garnish than focal point, and toss in nutrient-dense vegetables.

Hungry Yet?

There’s no need to grit your teeth through the bitterness this coming season. With these classics dishes, you’ll stay warm and energized in the chilly weather. Just be sure to keep your meals balanced and full of plant-based nutrients so you stay healthy and strong all year round.

If you want to know what foods will help you restore your natural vitality and get slim and stay slim while ending your muscle and joint pain, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS


8 Refreshing Superfood Drink Recipes for your Post Workout Recovery


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 18-08-2016

After an intense exercise session, you must fuel your body to replenish the depleted glycogen stores and help your body rebuild and strengthen its muscles. Here are 8 refreshing recovery drinks loaded with superfoods; the nutrient rich foods that are especially beneficial to your health and well-being. These will give you the much needed glucose replenishment, while quickly restoring the electrolytes levels to normal. Rehydration is a major part of the post-workout recovery process.

To make them more refreshing, use frozen or chilled ingredients; add ice if you wish. You can also make them before your exercise routine and keep them in the fridge, so they are chilled and ready anytime you want them.

#1 – Chocolate, Banana Smoothie

Chocolate, Banana Smoothie

This is one refreshingly cool and chocolaty treat that not just tastes amazing, it’s also bursting with health. In this recipe, bananas are blended with Greek yogurt and cocoa. Banana is considered a superfood as it’s filled with many nutrients like fibre, potassium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Bananas are called the number one fruit for athletes. The tryptophan content in bananas helps to improve mood and boost memory power. You can use frozen bananas rather than fresh ones, to make a thick slushy smoothie.

Greek yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics. These are the good microorganisms that keep your digestive tract healthy while strengthening the immune system. Just like bananas, Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium and potassium. Decreasing the sodium intake, while increasing the potassium intake, is an important dietary change for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  Greek yogurt is a fulfilling treat after a tiring workout. It is rich in amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle tissue repair and regeneration. Greek yogurt is also rich in Iodine, which is needed for proper thyroid functioning and ultimately a healthy metabolism.

This one looks really appetizing when served in tall glasses, garnished with slices of fresh banana

Recipe Source [1]

#2 – Red Velvet Smoothie
Red Velvet Smoothie

Loaded with superfoods, you’ll be surprised just how yummy this tastes. Raw red beets and strawberries are what gives that attractive red colour while almond milk, dates, cocoa and agave nectar add up to make this a really healthy drink. Agave nectar is said to be a healthier choice than sugar as it has a relatively low glycemic index value.

Red beets are an incredible source of vitamins and minerals: beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron are, but a few of them. Ancient Romans are known to have used these medicinally as an aphrodisiac. The high amounts of boron in beets boost the production of human sex hormones.

Cocoa contains iron, magnesium, flavonoids and many other antioxidants. Raw Cocoa nibs are a better choice if you can get them, than super refined cocoa powders. The Cacao nibs add a better texture and taste to your drink. They are also said to substantially increase saliva activation.

Recipe Source [2]

#3 – Toasted Coconut & Fig Almond Milk Smoothie
Toasted Coconut & Fig Almond Milk Smoothie

Toasted Coconut and dried figs add an unusual flavour to this delicious smoothie. You can substitute with dates, if you don’t have any figs. Use any brand of almond milk or make your own from soaked almonds. Almond butter, raw honey, frozen bananas and cocoa are the other superfoods in this refreshing summer drink.

Figs [3] contain numerous beneficial nutrients, including phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins A, B1, and B2, and minerals like calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine and manganese. Figs contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre aids bowel movements and the soluble fibre helps slow digestion while stabilizing and lowering blood sugar levels. Figs are also known to help lower serum triglyceride levels.

Recipe Source [4]

#4 – Apple Banana Chia Seed Smoothie

Apple Banana Chia Seed Smoothie

The highlight of this refreshing summer drink is Chia seeds. The superfood Chia seeds are one of the best sources of Omega fatty acids, the powerful antioxidants which are believed to slow down aging and encourage tissue regeneration.

Chia seeds are great for hydration as they are hydrophilic. This means they dissolve easily in water and will not give that gritty feel on the tongue like some of the other seeds, when blended into a drink. Chia seeds expand when they absorb liquid, so they naturally thicken any drink they are added to. This one is great choice for diabetics too, since Chia seeds slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine. You can grind Chia seeds into a paste and store them, so that it can be easily added to any drink.

Yoghurt, apples and bananas are the other superfoods blended into this drink. Apples contain a wealth of antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fibre that can help reduce the risk of developing many diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Recipe Source [5]

#5 – Papaya-Banana Smoothie

Papaya-Banana Smoothie

The superfood papaya is the key ingredient in this incredible recovery drink. Blending papaya into your drinks creates a very creamy and smooth texture. Papaya has plenty of active enzymes that aid digestion.

Flavoured with vanilla and blended with Greek yogurt, this smoothie is rich in protein and calcium, both of which aid muscle and bone growth. A great way to enhance the health benefits of this drink is to add an additional superfood like Aloe Vera. This is a natural diuretic. It is better to use the thick gooey natural stuff, though you can also use Aloe Vera water. A little goes a long way, so use just a spoonful of the thick stuff, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.

You can substitute the bananas in the recipe with pineapple if you wish. Pineapple is a refreshing addition to any summer drink; it is an unusually high source of vitamin C, even higher than in oranges.

Recipe Source [6]

#6 – Passion Fruit Hurricane

Passion Fruit Hurricane

Cool yourself down after a sweaty workout session with this exhilarating fruit cocktail that blends together pink grapefruit juice and passion fruit puree with dark rum. Serve chilled, garnished with a wedge of fresh grapefruit.

A popular citrus fruit, the grapefruit [7] is a marvellous source of nutrients like vitamins A, C, folate, fibre, choline, limonins and lycopene. It is well known for its antioxidant and immunity boosting properties. It aids digestions and helps lower cholesterol.

Passion fruits have high levels of Vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants such as ß-carotene and cryptoxanthin-ß. Rum is said to be beneficial in alleviating arthritis as it aids in increasing the mineral density of bones. When taken in moderation, there are extensive health benefits associated with dark rum [8]. It is well known as a great reliever for muscle pain.

Recipe Source [9]

#7 – Easy Raspberry Mango Iced Tea
Easy Raspberry Mango Iced Tea

Just imagine sipping a cup of iced tea on a sweltering hot summer afternoon. What could be more delicious and refreshing than this Raspberry Mango Iced Tea made with mango nectar and fresh raspberries? When making this drink, add English green tea bags to hot water and allow steeping for five minutes. Add the mango nectar and honey to this after the tea has cooled and then refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with raspberries and lots of ice.

Other than Vitamin C, red raspberries [10] have powerful antioxidants like quercetin and gallic acid which protect against cancer, heart disease and age-related decline. The high ellagic acid content in raspberries gives it chemopreventative properties; regular consumption of raspberries can help inhibit, delay, or reverse carcinogenesis.

Green tea [11] contains bioactive compounds that are highly beneficial for your health. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants like flavonoids and catechins. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but its caffeine content works synergistically with the amino acid L-theanine to improve brain function. Green tea has been proven to boost the metabolic rates in the short term. This property of green tea is believed to aid weight loss efforts. According to research, green tea drinkers have lower risks of cardiovascular disease.

Recipe Source [12]

#8 – Cashew Ripple Strawberry Shake
Cashew Ripple Strawberry Shake

This one feels more like a dessert than a drink, as the cashew butter adds a rich creamy taste. This healthy vegan summer drink uses superfoods like soy milk, strawberries and watermelon. It is wiser to use an unsweetened version of soy milk for your smoothies, as there will be natural sweetness in the other ingredients like the strawberries.

The fat in soy milk is mostly unsaturated with zero cholesterol. This makes it a much better choice than dairy milk that has high saturated fat and cholesterol content. Soy milk has powerful phyto-antioxidants as well as both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which protect blood vessels from lesions and haemorrhages. The phytoestrogen content in soy helps prevent the loss of bone mass in your body accelerating the calcium absorption.

Cashew butter is great for the immune system and for increasing muscle and skin tone. It contains a lot of essential amino acids and is loaded with phosphorus, copper, iron and magnesium. You can also substitute the cashew butter with peanut or almond butter in this recipe. Remember to serve this thick chilled concoction with a spoon rather than a straw.

Recipe Source [13]

If you want to learn the secrets of foods that will help you turn back the hands of time and restore your natural vitality and slimmer body, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Rick Kaselj, MS



[1] Chocolate, Banana Smoothies – http://www.therusticwife.com/#!Chocolate-Banana-Smoothies/c1v05/55aefbcc0cf24f011b6401cc
[2] Healthy Red Velvet Smoothies – http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2013/08/healthy-red-velvet-smoothies
[3] Seven amazing reasons to eat more figs – http://www.naturalnews.com/041332_figs_nutrition_healthy_food.html
[4] Toasted Coconut & Fig Almond Milk Smoothie – http://theysmell.com/almond-milk-smoothie/
[5] Apple Banana Chia Seed Smoothies – http://joylovefood.com/apple-banana-chia-seed-smoothies/
[6] Papaya-Banana Smoothie – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/papaya-banana-smoothie-recipe.html
[7] Grapefruit: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts – http://www.livescience.com/54746-grapefruit-nutrition.html
[8] Rum: Top 8 Unbelievable Health Benefits – http://ppcorn.com/us/2016/03/28/rum-top-8-unbelievable-health-benefits/
[9] Passion Fruit Hurricane – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ted-allen/passion-fruit-hurricane-recipe.html
[10] Red Raspberries – http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/red_raspberry_facts.htm
[11] 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea – https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/
[12] Easy Raspberry Mango Iced Tea – http://www.cookingonthefrontburners.com/2016/05/easy-raspberry-mango-honey-iced-tea.html
[13] Shakes! Matcha or Cashew Ripple Strawberry – http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/07/cashew-ripple-strawberry-shake-weekend.html

Okanagan (Canada) Peaches: What are the benefits, How to pick the perfect peach, How to store them


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 17-08-2016

Of all the flavors associated with summertime, few are as beautiful as that of a ripe, perfect peach. Sweet, fragrant, juicy peaches are absolute treasures at this time of year, and most grocery stores now have bushels of them near their entrances so the fruits’ scent will entice you over as soon as you set foot through the door.

While many people buy carloads of peaches in order to preserve them for the winter—whether it’s by canning them in syrup or baking them into pies and cobblers—others prefer to grab as many as possible just to enjoy in their raw, unaltered beauty, and with good cause! There’s really no taste like that of a summer-fresh peach, and right now is the ideal time to enjoy them.

Okanagan (Canada) Peaches



When we think of peaches, Canada rarely comes to mind as a place where these delicate-fleshed fruits will thrive. Peaches are believed to have originated in China, and traders helped to spread them around throughout India and the Middle East before they made their way to Europe, and then North America. Many peach varieties thrive in the warm, southern USA states like Georgia (it’s the state’s official fruit!), South Carolina, and California, but a surprising number of peaches are actually cultivated in the balmy Okanagan valley in southern British Columbia, Canada. In fact, the Okanagan is so renowned for its stone fruits that there’s actually a town called Peachland, where the fruits have been cultivated since the 1890s.

If the thought of Canadian peaches intrigues you, there are a few different varieties that you can look for at your grocery store: Suncrest, Fairhaven, and Redhaven are a few to look out for, while O’Henry and Raritan Rose are a bit harder to find, but well worth the effort to do so. You’ll likely have an easier time finding Okanagan varieties if you’re located within Canada or the northwest coast in the USA, but talk to your grocer or the suppliers at your local farmer’s market: you may be surprised to discover that the peaches being offered are from BC.

So, what are their health benefits?


Aside from being delicious, peaches are also startlingly good for you. They’re very high in fiber, which is as essential for reducing cholesterol levels as it is for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Peaches are surprisingly good sources of vitamin A, which keeps all of our organs working properly and is vital for reproduction, and also helps us to maintain our vision.

Although they’re not at high in antioxidants as blueberries or goji berries, they do have a fairly high level at 1,826 per cup of fruit. These antioxidants are essential for a strong, healthy immune systems: they help to reduce inflammation and can also help to deter cancer and other chronic health issues, and also do wonders for maintaining healthy skin.

In addition to helping to slow skin’s aging process, the zinc in peaches is known to boost testosterone levels in men. Peaches’ potassium content assists with nervous system function and regulates heart rate, while its calcium and iron levels help with bone maintenance and hemoglobin production in red blood cells, respectively.

These fruits even help reduce obesity: their high fiber content isn’t just great for lowering cholesterol—it also helps to make people feel full longer, thus curbing appetite. The fact that peaches also have beneficial effects on digestive issues such as IBS, ulcers, and gastritis makes them a powerhouse as far as holistic healing is concerned.

It’s rather wonderful to consider that every bite you take out of one of these fruits also nourishes and heals your entire body on so many levels, isn’t it?

One thing to keep in mind is that peaches regularly make their way onto the “dirty dozen” list of pesticide-contaminated produce. If you’re aiming to add more peaches into your diet for their numerous health benefits, it’s best to try to buy organic fruit whenever possible. Although washing fruit thoroughly can eliminate a lot of pesticide residue, peach skin is very permeable, so chemicals can seep through their exterior fuzz and into the flesh very easily.

How to choose them


Peach butter - Peaches

If you’re grocery shopping and in search of a few perfect peaches, there are a few different techniques to help you choose those that are at their peak:

#1 – Smell them.

This might make you feel a bit weird, but if you’re okay with looking a little awkward at the supermarket, it’s one of the best ways to help you select your fruit. You know that little hollow at the top of the peach where the stem used to be? Smell that. If there’s a fairly noticeable sweet, floral fragrance, then your peach is well on its way to ideal ripeness. If it’s barely discernable, it was picked too early and still has a way to go before it’ll taste right. As a lovely elderly lady at a shop once told me: “the way a peach smells will tell you how it’s going to taste”.

#2 –Squeeze them gently!

The “shoulders” of the fruit (the curved part around where the stem was) are a great indicator of ripeness. Don’t squeeze that area too hard, but just press in very gently and see whether the flesh gives a little or not. If it does, pop that beauty into your cart. If it’s really firm, set it aside – it’s not ready yet. In terms of squish-ability, you can use your own face as a pressure reference: if you squeeze a peach and it has the same give as the tip of your nose, it’s perfect.

*Note: If you come across a bunch of squishy peaches that smell great but are too soft to eat without them falling apart all over you, it’s great idea to pick them up anyway. You can turn them into jam or jelly and make sure none of that juicy sweetness goes to waste.

#3 -Do comparative weighing.

Did you know that a ripe fruit will weigh slightly more than an unripe one? Select a few peaches of the same approximate size, and weigh them—the heaviest one will be the ripest, thanks to water content within the fruit.

If you find a few beautiful peaches that aren’t quite ripe enough yet, don’t despair! Buy them anyway, and pick up a couple of ripe bananas while you’re at it. When you get home, pop the peaches and bananas into a paper bag together, and let them hang out for a few days: the ethylene gas released by the bananas will help your peaches to ripen more quickly.

Keeping them fresh



Now that you have a few perfect peaches (assuming that you’ve managed to refrain from cramming them all in your mouth before you got home), you need to store them. This can be tricky, since peaches are as delicate as …peaches… and can bruise and tear rather easily.

If you’ve picked some peaches that are a little under-ripe, or are quite firm, it’s best to keep them at room temperature for a few days so they can ripen to their full potential. You’ll want to place them stem-side-down on a plate or cutting board, away from direct sunlight, in a room that stays a pretty steady, warm temperature. Of course, the problem with storing fruit in open air during the summer months is that their scrumptious scent usually draws insects, which will attempt to eat your peaches before you get to them.

The way to fend the wee beasties away is to cover the fruits with a protective mesh screen cover. In the same way that people hide in mesh tents to keep from being devoured by mosquitoes, the peaches can rest in safety beneath mini mesh tents, which will keep fruit flies, bees, wasps, and bottle flies away from your treasures.

Once they’re ripe, it’s important to keep them refrigerated to preserve their freshness. Now, when it comes to enjoying your peaches raw, there are two opposing views: some people love to bite into cold, crisp peaches straight from the fridge, while others insist that the peaches be removed from the cold and allowed to warm to room temperature to really enjoy their sweetness. On a hot day, the colder peaches can be incredibly refreshing, but is that preferable to enjoying the fruit when it’s at its best? It’s probably a good idea to try both (several times, if needed) to determine which you prefer.

If you’re going to indulge in a very ripe, room-temperature peach, remember that it’s probably a good idea to do so while leaning over the sink: it’s going to be a gloriously juicy mess, and worth every drip.

If you want to be healthy and sexy the natural way through simple food hacks, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days

Rick Kaselj, MS


5 Foods You Must Not Eat


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 25-09-2015

Food is a basic necessity to survive. Humans and animals eat food – we all know this. Have you also heard the saying – you are what you eat! – this can be so true as well. WE consume foods – different types of foods.  Some of these foods can be great for us, while some of these foods we consume are… well… NOT SO GOOD FOR US. So, the reality is, while there are many types of foods available for us to consume, there are some foods that we should stay away from.

In essence, there are some foods that we simply MUST NOT EAT. Right from childhood, we are ENCOURAGED to eat healthy. In a report on child health, it was noted that as people grew older, adequate intake of fruits had a significant decline and a minority of children ate vegetables [1]. 

Why?  This is a good question to ask.

It is NOT ENOUGH to say: don’t eat this food. Instead, understanding why a particular food or specific types of food can be bad for you is SO MUCH MORE WORTHWHILE and also, such knowledge could help lifestyle transformations even much more enduring.  So, why should we NOT EAT SOME FOODS… well… the answer is quite simple. Some foods that we consume can prevent us from maintaining or arriving at a healthy WEIGHT and could also hinder the potential our bodies have for HEALING. There are foods that WILL NOT help you slim in size or lose weight. These foods will also not allow your body heal in terms of healing joint pain, gut damage and dealing with muscle pain.

Here are 5 foods that you MUST NOT eat:

#1 – Commercially Processed Salad Dressing

What are salads? Typically, we would describe salads as a healthy meal, comprising mainly of vegetables and sometimes fruits, nuts and other accompaniments that provide nutrition or some appeal. YES! Salads can be good for us. However, when considering foods we MUST NOT eat, consider the commercially processed salad dressings that are being sold to accompany the salads we eat. These types of dressings can contain TONS AND TONS of unwanted calories.

Commercially Processed Salad Dressing

The loophole we face with salads is that these foods are usually not served alone. The dressing seems and most times IS the perfect thing to associate with a salad. Without a salad dressing, the salad can taste bland and uninviting. To satisfy to this market need, commercially produced salad dressings can contain ingredients to make this salad dressing product taste appealing. Hence, we NEED to be aware of this food.

#2 – Fruit Juice

The fruit juice we buy in stores sometimes may not be entirely or completely made from fruit juice. UNFORTUNATELY… IT CAN GET A LOT WORSE when we consider just what the fruit juices we buy may contain. It may be a mix of substances that taste like fruit but not actually fruit.

Fruit Juice

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? IT’S HAPPENING and many people are falling victim to this marketing phenomenon.  It can seem convenient to simply walk into a grocery store and buy a container of fruit juice. However, WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY BUYING? Are we simply buying into the potential lie that the fruit juice we buy is good for us?

Pure fruit juice is the healthier option and with this option, there is still the need to watch consumption levels because natural fruit juice can still contain significant levels of sugar. Such sugar content can have an impact on diseases like diabetes as research shows [2]. Research studies also reveal that sugar can also have an impact in affecting other medical conditions including cardiometabolic risk factors [3].

By focusing on the juice of the fruit alone, we also eliminate the fiber and other benefits we get from eating the whole fruit and not only extracting the juice.

#3 – Organic Processed Foods

Go organic!  Yes, “organic” is one of the more recent buzzwords that have captured the minds of many. Indeed, there is benefit in seeking and consuming organic versions of foods. Organic foods provide a more natural version and with minimal processing, if any at all.  However, there is a MARKETING strategy with some of the so-called organic foods out there – many of these foods we sometimes place in our shopping carts and bring back home.

Organic Processed Foods

What food processors and marketing groups do is figure out a way to tap into the HYPE of ORGANIC EATING while still sneaking in some “not-so-nice” or “not-so-wanted” ingredients – in essence, the foods that you should not eat or the foods that make the normally healthy foods suddenly fall into the category of foods that you MUST eat.

For example, while organic granola can be a healthy choice, what we need to UNDERSTAND about granola is the way many types of granola options appear to us in the grocery stores. Such organic food choice could contain non-organic “add-ins” and sometimes other organic ingredients like natural cane sugar, which is in reality still sugar that we should AVOID where possible. Of course, the organic version of sugar may be better. However, do pay attention to processed foods, especially if these foods are tagged with the word “organic” but are processed and rendered less healthy than natural counterparts.

#4 – Gluten-Free Processed Foods

Another term for foods that we find in food stores these days is the “gluten-free foods”. Folks that have a reaction to gluten can benefit from gluten-free alternatives and this can be a life-saver in many ways, enabling people live quality lives with the pain that can result from gluten-sensitivity situations.

Gluten-Free Processed Foods

Again, food producers and marketers can capitalize on this fact and tap into those who would naturally be drawn to consuming gluten-free foods. Unfortunately, “gluten-free” may not necessarily mean “healthy”, as also confirmed by consumer reports and this can be seen in many examples such as the comparison between a non-gluten-free muffin that has 340 calories and a gluten-free muffin with 370 calories [4]. Some gluten-free foods are full of additional ingredients that are packed with sugar, calories and processing that depletes the food of its natural nutrients.

#5 – Diet Drinks

Do you think that diet drinks are good for you? HMMM… it’s TIME TO RECONSIDER that thought. Yes, diet drinks such as diet soda my not have the conventional sugar ingredients that are used in ordinary sodas and sugary drinks. HOWEVER, to compensate for the loss of sugar from these sodas, food manufacturers and processors resort to other means including adding in replacements like artificial sweeteners which sometimes do not actually contain sugar and calories. SO, THIS IS GOOD, RIGHT?  WRONG! Not quite good as we would expect or hope.

Diet Drinks

On the contrary, the artificial sweeteners focus on our appetites and create an increased appetite in many cases.  Information from the School of Public Health at Harvard also lends input to this conversation by revealing that health benefits related to artificial sweeteners are inconclusive and diet sodas do not necessarily provide a suitable alternative [5].

A research study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition agrees that sugar alternatives and sweeteners, including low calorie sugar substitutes do not actually reduce or minimize the consumption of sugary drinks but instead, the existence and level of intake of these sweeteners have increased in parallel with consuming sugary drinks. SO … we drink diet drinks and then … we want to eat more or drink more. Unfortunately, when this occurs, we may not be eating the healthiest or best meals. Hence, it can be smart to stay away from these drinks!

A major mistake that is made is to think that certain foods we consume are GOOD FOR US, while on the contrary these foods are indeed making using fat. Why eat things that are not good for use when there are alternatives that can do us a world of good? Why eat foods that keep us sick or from feeling our best?

Instead, why not EMBRACE our best foods and eat more of the things that keep us healthy in weight and healing potential. It can be so rewarding to keep away from these foods that we simply must not eat! An alternative to these foods we must not eat is to strip the food down to the basics – the natural components.

For example, with commercially processed salad dressings, you could consider making salad dressings at home, using pure and natural ingredients like natural spices, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and herbs. For all these foods that you MUST NOT eat, SURELY with a little though, we’ll find some way to avoid these foods or ingredients and still find REALLY GREAT FOOD CHOICES to include in our lives.

Some of these ingredients can include loads of saturated fats that are bad for the body, high fructose corn syrup, other types of sugar (YES, SUGAR!), unnatural preservatives and other ingredients – some with names that make it SO DIFFICULT TO PRONOUNCE – still ingredients that we’d rather do without. SO, WHAT HAPPENS… we take a perfectly healthy meal like a salad and drench it with commercially processed salad dressings or reach for a diet drink instead of healthier alternatives… and then GUESS WHAT? We then WONDER why we are not looking or feeling trim and healthy! It’s time to break the cycle and be on the alert for these foods that you MUST NOT eat.

If you want to be healthy and sexy in a natural way through simple food hacks, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days


[1] Healthy kids – Healthy eating – eat well, get active

[2] Intake of fruit, vegetables and fruit juices and the risk of diabetes in women

[3] Sugar-containing beverage intake at the age of 1 year and cardiometabolic health at the age of 6 years: the Generation R Study

[4] Consumer Reports – 6 truths about a gluten free diet

[5] The Nutrition Source – Artificial sweeteners

[6] Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight

Rick Kaselj, MS


5 Vegetables That Are Making You Fat


Filed Under (Food, General) by Rick Kaselj on 24-09-2015

Do you know that you could be eating something that you thought was good for you, but in reality this food could be making you fat! SHOCK!  YES!!! 

Who wouldn’t be in shock? We all know about eating healthy and perhaps we try to eat healthy, as much as we can… or perhaps we are not quite yet at the point where we eat healthy. Nevertheless, we probably know that vegetables – popularly known as “veggies” – are good for us. Are all “presentations” of vegetables good for us? NO! NOT THE CASE!! This is where there is a shift in thinking as we begin to realize that all “veggies” are not created equal.

On the contrary, some veggies may actually be “not-so-healthy”. Yes, some veggies may be making you fat! Still, at a very basic level, we can AGREE that vegetables should be consumed. Actually, research studies reveal that countries do not eat enough vegetables and in some places, only 45% of the youth eat at least one veggie portion every day [1]. So, we do need to eat more veggies. BUT, there ARE veggies being consumed that make people FAT.

“How?”, you may wonder. Well … in most cases, it’s not that the veggie itself is bad. Unfortunately, VEGGIES can go through a lot of processing and preparation before we eat these foods. This is the MAIN CULPRIT with regards to vegetables that are making you fat. Especially in terms of the way these vegetables are presented before we eat these foods, we are automatically actually packing on the pounds when we consume these foods.

The International Journal of Food Science and Technology describes how the demand for minimally processed vegetables is still in demand and as such there is an increase in the availability of such foods [2].


However, there are still ways that vegetables are consumed that can make us fat. Thus, KNOWING the FACTS and understanding the various scenarios is an IDEAL way to proceed.

So, LET’S DIG deeper into 5 of the vegetables that you could make a person fat. These are foods that DO NOT help you remain or get slim or in other words – lose weight, heal you body in terms of many types of pain including joint pain, gut damage or deal with muscle pain. NO… these veggies that can make you fat actually do so by taking advantage of the fact that the vegetable classification may make people eat more of these foods while the foods DO NOT contribute in any way to low calorie intake or weight loss.

Hence, beware of these 5 vegetables that can make you fat!

#1 – Vegetable Chips

Due to the likely tendency for people to shy away from veggies, people of course begin to get creative and determine other ways to try to push the idea of “eating veggies” on other people. What do quite a number of people like? Chips! 

Vegetable Chips

Yes, the unhealthy, salty type of chips that is ABSOLUTELY not good for us – especially in the long term. So, WHAT HAPPENS?  Veggies are made into chips and this product is marketed as an alternative to the natural form of the vegetable. SO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH THIS? 

Well… the concern is the additives and inclusions that are used to create these veggie chips are, in the long run, not very good for you. OH NO… these veggies chips can be just as bad as or even worse than the more commonly known salty potato chips.  SHOCKER, right!!!

Would you believe that the veggie chips are consuming are may actually be making you FAT?! WORSE to consider as well is the mindset a person may find himself or herself operating in when eating anything that has the word “vegetable” in it.

For some expected reason, and many times rightly so, we expect that all veggie concoctions or preparations MUST be HEALTHY! NOT SO!!!  Depending on the way it’s prepared, veggie chips can help you pack on those pounds and simply because we think that the veggie chips we are consuming are healthy, we may tend to EAT MORE VEGGIE CHIPS, making the situation so much more worse.

#2 – Vegetable Dips

Oohh… these can look so good and appealing. Of course, another way we get caught in the trap set by veggie dips is the logical conclusion that we’ll not eat too much of this and we have this idea usually before we even start eating the dip.

Vegetable Dips

“It’s just a dip and I’ll just put a little on this carrot, broccoli, celery stick or other vegetable”, you may just say to yourself.  However, what typically happens… we dip and dip… and dip and dip… until we have dipped so much into the so-called vegetable dip that we have packed on extra pounds without realizing it and may continue to do so unknowingly.

Yes, many researchers and health-oriented organizations know that VEGGIE DIPS can be a problem! A HUGE PROBLEM.  This is one area where nutritionists are battling hard to maintain the battle between effect weight loss and sabotages that seem to cleverly sneak in.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has provided tips on healthy dips including seeking the healthiest store-bought option where at least the first ingredient of the dip is a healthy option or making your own dip [3].  

It can seem like a no-win situation… BELIEVE ME, I KNOW… the dip can make it easier to eat veggies! Having a dip available could encourage kids to eat veggies that would typically be bypassed or ignored and this is backed up by a study where kids asked to eat veggies with and without the presence of a vegetable dip [4].  BUT beware of the DIP!

#3 – Vegetable Smoothies

Yes, it’s a smoothie craze out there! AND it’s backed up by research that green smoothies can help prevent chronic medical conditions [5].  All kinds of smoothies and in all sorts of colours too!

Vegetable Smoothies

With veggies, you usually get a lovely green smoothie that can seem just delightful to consume and of course you also think that these veggies are good for you. WELL… YES… and NO. To make vegetable smoothies these days, we add some other things to the mix. Many times, the objective is to add other healthy foods like avocados that can help make these types of smoothies creamy and easier to consume. While these veggie smoothies can still provide nutrition that your body needs, there is the issue of calorie count and sugar

Hence, be careful as you consume vegetable smoothies. Simply because these smoothies are made WITH VEGETABLES… and other seemingly healthy components… this DOES NOT MEAN that you should throw all caution to the wind and drink all the vegetable smoothies you can get your hands on. No… rather, remember the calorie and sugar issues that can be associated with these VEGGIE SMOOTHIES.

#4 – Vegetable Juice

Again, the idea that vegetables are healthy is not entirely wrong. The issue to think about TIME AND TIME AGAIN is the fact that having a lot of some veggies could be bad for you, especially over time when you will begin to see yourself gain weight and wonder what you are doing wrong.

Vegetable Juice

Vegetable juice contains lots of nutrients from the veggies that ARE good for you. YES, no problem in this regard.  HOWEVER, the downside of veggie juice is the other aspects of veggie juice we may not necessarily take the time to consider or reflect upon such as the amount of calories we consume when drinking veggies juice and ALSO… the AMOUNT of SUGAR contained in veggie juice. YES, there can be a significant amount of sugar and a high calorie count when consuming vegetable juice. You’ll note that sugar and fat reduction are a major part of weight reduction programmes [6]. 

Again, we are likely to make the mistake of thinking: “Oh, it’s just vegetable juice – what could be so wrong with that? It must be good for me.  Hence, I should drink more of this stuff”. With this type of thinking, we consume more vegetable juice and in turn more sugar content and more calories in a day!

#5 – Coated Vegetables

Don’t you like the creative presentations of veggies you’ll find at fancy parties, casual gatherings, picnics or even with your home-made creations? Indeed, sometimes people find the natural veggie presentation so bland and so… blah!… definitely not something that will entice the kids (and some adults too).  So, WHY NOT DRESS THE VEGGIES UP A BIT?


Well, indeed… why not. Hmmm… perhaps this “dressing up” is not quite the best idea out there and the reason why is the fact that the “dressing up “ of the veggies add on extra “stuff” including more calories, extra processing that could destroy nutrients and potentially an INCREASED tendency to want to OVER-EAT these processed vegetables.

Examples of these coated, and usually delicious, coated vegetables include veggies that are drenched in flour and other coatings and then fried for that crunchy appeal. Yes, in many of these cases we have just discussed, technically you are still eating a vegetable, but it has changed from its natural form in some way or has been processed in a way that makes it easier to consume. Hence, this introduces the opportunity to consume more of these veggies and in turn such veggies can make you fat!

SO, IF YOU THINK YOU ARE EATING VEGETABLES… and as a result you are “EATING HEALTHY”… oh dear… it may be time to RE-THINK this conclusion. How healthy is that portion of vegetables you are about to consume? Yes, this makes you want to stop and think about the different ways you have consumed vegetables recently. Beware of veggies that are making you fat!

If you want to shrink your waistline and beat serious diseases naturally, then check out the Best Foods that Rapidly Slim & Heal in 7 Days program here:

Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days


[1] Explaining Vegetable Consumption among Young Adults: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour

[2] The microbiological safety of minimally processed vegetables

[3] Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation –Tips on healthy dips

[4] Reuters – Adding dip to veggies gets kids to eat more

[5] The Effects of Green Smoothie Consumption on Blood Pressure and Health-Related Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial

[6] Effects of sugar intake on body weight: a review

Rick Kaselj, MS