Yes, chances are you do if you’ve ever served an assortment of appetizers rather than a gigantic four course meal. A Hawaiian pupu or puu puu platter is heaven if you enjoy fresh fish and right off the vine fruits and vegetables. You can do so in the islands, or you can do so at home.
Small is the operative word when it comes to food. The idea is finger food, with an assortment of sauces and sides that mix tastes, cuisines, colors, and flavors. The sky’s the limit. In other words, let your imagination go wild. Just as the saying goes: If you can dream it up, you can dream it down,” If you can cook it big, you can cook it small and it can be even tastier.
Martha Stewart Even Does Pupu!
Yes, Martha has recipes for pupu platters. She serves baby pork ribs, oriental shrimp toast, chicken drumettes, and fresh fruit. Martha is just one of the chefs and food stars that open minds and hearts and taste buds to the pupu platter that mirrors the various, wonderful groups of people who inhabit and visit Hawaii. You are able to enjoy an array of Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Puerto Rican, Thai and Vietnamese, and probably cajun. You name it, it is there, on a pupu platter. Really, it is just like home, wherever your home may be, because the world is filled with diverse cultures.
In Praise of Little Things
The pupu or puu puu platter is the essence of little things. Little bites of food, served on a plate with little compartments, or on little plates. Many dishes in the puu puu platter can be cooked on a little grill called a hibachi.
A hibachi is the perfect accompaniment to a pupu party, whether you have two people, six or more (though you may want to consider multiple grills). A hibachi is a little fire bowl, or a small charcoal grill. It is a teeny cooking surface, not at all resembling a big patio sized mega-grilling surface.
You won’t find your hibachi in your local big box store, but they are around as they have been for a years. I, for one, worn out four. They just cook better than anything else for me. They do bacon-wrapped pupu shrimp that is nothing less than divine! You can buy a safe charcoal you can use inside the house.
What landlubbers recreate is the essence of a beach party, on a pretend lanai. Enjoy a vast assortment of tasty little foods from around the world, on your patio. Everyone cooks, everyone eats, and don’t forget the exotic drinks with or without alcohol. Just reading it, it sounds like a party doesn’t it? Or, how can it not be a romantic dinner for two? Even children can enjoy!
Hawaiian music in the background, candles and the scent of flowers and aloha and a big mahala.
A healthy breakfast, full of nutrients, is everything we need to start the day full of energy. But routine, rush, diet, stress, lack of appetite in the morning is always an obstacle in achieving this goal – a healthy meal to start the day.
Benefits of a substantial breakfast. Studies that examined the eating habits shows that the breakfast, taken regularly, has a number of benefits on your body:
Reduce the risk of obesity and cholesterol;
Decreases insulin resistance (a condition that may increase risk of diabetes and heart disease);
Improves performance in terms of tasks that require memory;
Minimize desire to take snacks between meals or excessive eating for the rest of the day;
Assist in the assimilation of nutrients that are rarely supplemented by other meals of the day;
Help to improve school performance in children and the professional performance in adults.
Although, as appears at first sight, if you skip breakfast also means getting rid of a number of calories, the statistics suggests something else. In a study by American researchers showed that approximately 90% of 3,000 adults who have lost 15 pounds and have maintained their weight for a period longer than one year reported that they ate breakfast almost every day.
Regarding the breakfast, not compromising the quality!
You must think of breakfast as the best opportunity to gain vitamins and minerals in fruits, vegetables and grains are recommended for optimum health. In addition, experts recommend that adults to consume 21-38 grams of fiber per day. This is a challenge for those who opt for a low-fiber breakfast
Seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts are the best sources of fiber. Foods with high fiber intake have the great advantage to combat the need to eat snacks before lunch, creating a feeling of saturation. Also, if you add protein such as seafood, low-fat dairy, skinless chicken or eggs, you have a “weapon” in your fight against the hunger between meals …
Here are some tips:
The combination of fruit with low-fat cheese are always very appropriate – for example, you can get sandwiches with cheese and sliced peaches, compote.
A low-fat yogurt or milk with cereal, dried fruit and nuts, is a tasty breakfast.
Vegetables with a hard boiled egg and a weak sauce.
A bowl of vegetable soup and graham crackers or bread.
Did you know that last year the Americans spent $25 billion for organic products and according to the rhythm in which organic food sales goes, this year the figure is expected to get to $30 billion? This is indeed extraordinary! But this impressive figure is due not only to the booming of the organic food sale, but also to its price.
Everybody knows organic food cost more than the nonorganic one. But when it comes to preserving their health through a healthy diet, it seems like people have no second thoughts about paying more for their food. The only thing they have in mind is the benefits of the quality nutrition these products offer. But is that really so? I wonder…
When buying organic food, there some things you should know first. The first and most important thing you have to do before buying it is to check for the label that certifies the organic quality of the product you have chosen. Thus, look for the Certified Organic Seal.
This seal guarantees you that the food you have chosen meets the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards for organic food and that the producer of that particular food has successfully passed the examination of the USDA-accredited inspector. Thus you can be sure that your organic food was in no way subject to herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers genetically-modified seeds or irradiation treatment.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that there are several categories organic food falls in. Thus, there are the “100% Organic” food, the simply “Organic” food (only 95 – 99% is organic) and the “Made with Organic Ingredients” foods (in which only 74 to 94% is organic). Make sure you understand precisely what the label on your food says. None of the labels listed above speaks about the nutritional content of the food.
Many people think that consuming organic food provides them with more and higher nutrients. However, the studies made on the matter have given different results, some of them supporting this theory and others, on the contrary, proving it wrong. For better and more precise results larger and more elaborate studies are needed.
Another thing the label speaks nothing about is the place the product is grown. Although people think the organic product grows in the same locale it is sold, this is rarely the case. From this point of view, organic and traditionally-grown foods differ only in the manner they are grown, handled and processed.
Buying organic food not only benefits ourselves but the environment as well. Their growing, handling and processing methods preserve the natural resources of the environment. Bottom line, if you are willing to choose organic food over the traditionally-grown one and pay extra for it, make sure you buy organic and spend your money exactly on what you are buying.
The constantly increasing demand of organic product has put researchers at work. They had to determine the benefits and the risk of such foods on the human body over the traditional food. Although some years have paste since this organic food movement has started, the scientific society still has not come up with a unanimous opinion about it. Thus, while some researchers have said that no health benefits can result from consuming organic food, others have sustained a totally different opinion.
A starting point in the organic food benefits debate may be the nutritional level of these products. In 2003, The New York Times published the results of a research on this matter; the report of the research included the conclusion that the value of some nutrients like vitamin C, for instance, some minerals and polyphenols (antioxidants playing an important part in the good functioning of the immune system) are considerably higher in organic products than in the traditional ones. This is one health benefit worth taking into consideration by everyone.
Traditional products are often subject to the action of toxins and pesticides producers use in order to boost their production and product quality. These harmful substances get into the composition of the product and may have bad effects on the human health causing tremors or headaches. Organic food is free of such chemical action; thus, no restriction to consuming products such as fresh fruit and vegetable can be imposed, this being another advantage of organic food consuming.
Moreover, organic food is also free of any preservatives and additives, sweeteners and coloring agents or hydrogenated fat that are usually used at non organic food processing and packaging. This is a huge health benefit especially for children, which are safe of any chemicals when consuming organic food.
Even if the debates about risks and benefits between organic and non-organic food still continues and the opinions differ as well as the points of view of the scientists on the matter, there are however some clear to mind benefits no one can deny. The simple fact that no chemicals or pesticides are used to produce this food is of huge importance.
While consuming these products you can be sure none of these harmful substances will enter your body and this does nothing more than keep the organic food consumer healthier longer. The lack of any artificial ingredient in such products is one good thing for the physical development of the children consuming organic food. For every responsible parent wanting the best for his child, this is a strong enough reason in favor of organic food consuming.
From the scientific point of view, all food is organic, since it basically has a carbon composition. However, when speaking about organic food, what people understand these days is a specific type of food that meets a set of specific standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Only the food certified by this authority can be officially called organic. Organic food producers have to respect all those regulations, otherwise they will be subject to fines per offense. In order to better understand what organic food is, we have to know and understand the guidelines set by the USDA.
Basically, the USDA’s job is to make sure that all organic food is pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, additives and chemical free. Traditional food like diary, meat, vegetables and fruit contain some of these substances.
In order to guarantee the organic characteristic of fruits, vegetables and grains, USDA has set some strict regulations concerning all food production steps. Thus, for a plant product to be labeled as organic it most come from a field that has been certified as organic as well. An organic field is the one on which no chemical substance (like pesticides or fertilizers) has been used for at least three years.
Other specific guidelines must also be met after harvesting the crops. Farms that find themselves in a process of transformation from a traditional to an organic one will receive the “transitional” label before they get to the point of fully meeting the USDA conditions.
As to organic meat and poultry, these have to be raised without using any growth stimulation substances, hormones and antibiotics. Apart from that, the producer must assure the necessary organic outdoor pastures and fresh air exercise, clear water and proper bedding in order for the meat to be considered fully organic. These animals must also be fed with organic plants, produced under the same USDA regulations and they must be kept apart from the traditionally raised animals.
Thus, the food of these animals must be produced on organic farmland and free of synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides for at least three years before being fed to the animals. Only this way the milk, for instance, can be considered an organic dairy product.
Other dairy products, like cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and cottage cheese fall under the same strict USDA regulation for organic food. Organic and non-organic milk mixture is not allowed under any circumstances.
Organic certification of a product also implies meeting other specifications as concerning the way animals are being raised, such as sufficient outdoor pasture area, fresh air and exercise access, clean water, proper bedding and humane treatment of animals.And as if the USDA regulations were not strict enough, the same authority establishes the precise organic content of the food given to animals. Strangely enough, this organic content is never 100%; 95% organic is enough for it to be considered as organic.
Thus, organic food falls into different categories of organic. The label on them gives us the information about how organic is the food we buy. Accordingly, the label “organic” means that 95% of the product contains organic ingredients; “made with organic products” (the product contains 70%-95% organic ingredients) and “less than 70% organic” (has less than 70% organic ingredients).
For a few years now it seems we are living in a new era, that of the organic everything: organic clothes, organic food, and organic cleaning products. However, before deciding whether or not it is in our advantage to purchase such products, we should be aware of the different opinions regarding the matter. To the ordinary consumer differences between organic and traditional products may not be so evident. This is why we will present here some of the pros and cons for organic products.
The most evident difference between the two food categories is, without any doubt, their price. Although on the shelves of a grocery store organic and non-organic fruits and vegetable look just as healthy and fresh, the organic ones cost almost double of the non-organic ones. Why? This is mostly because most of the Americans, if not of the people worldwide, are more and more concern about the genetically modified products on the food market and their effects on their health.
Thus, they are willing to pay double for what they eat if this can grant them a healthy life. Every type of food labeled as “Organic” informs the buyer that it comes from a field where no chemical substances have been used for the at least past three years. No other chemicals or pesticides have been used on them during the production period and no preservatives, additives or coloring have been added during the processing and packaging techniques.
Strong arguments are brought in favor of producing and purchasing organic food. Among them there is the contamination-free watersheds and drinking water (due to the exclusion of pesticides and chemicals from the production process), the higher quality of the soil (which is rich in nutrients and sustainable due to cover and rotation crops and composts) and erosion prevention.
In order to determine the nutritional value of the organic food compared to the non-organic one, different studies have been made. One of them has emphasized a higher level of vitamins such as A, B, C, E and minerals such as zinc and calcium in twelve organic products, as well as low heavy metal levels and hydrogenated fat (responsible for most of the heart diseases). With organic foods the risk of pesticides and antibiotics generated health complications is considerably reduced.
Although studies have demonstrated the nutritional superiority of the organic food, there are some cons to consuming it. One of them takes into account the high risk of e coli contamination due to the manure use as organic composite to such crops. Another argument against organic food is that the production rate of the two food types is the same.
Moreover, organic farming methods are twice more expensive than the traditional ones (this is reflected in the price of the final organic products) and the worrying thing about them is that a replacing of the modern farming methods may trigger food shortage.
People have become more health conscious lately, mostly because the additives used in food production have proved to be generators of different diseases threatening the human body. This being the case, people are now looking for organic food as a daily diet, but this can always result to be a problem, especially in the cases they are budget restricted.
But even in this case, with some smart strategies and determination, people can go on with their organic food diet during difficult financial periods.
1. Always shop in season. Organic food, just like any other type of food, has a variable price depending on the type of produce and the season. Buying the organic produce during its prime production season will help you get it for a cheaper price. Let’s take strawberries for instances; you can always get them very cheap in late spring and early summer, when they reach their peak.
On the other hand, buying oranges during the cold seasons will always result a deal. Nectarines, cherries and peaches will be very cheap during summer and this is the best occasion to purchase them. Of course there comes a disadvantage with shopping in season: you will never be able to enjoy all the organic food you want at the same time. But when restricted by a budget, this is the best solution to get a varied diet every moment of the year.
2. Co-operative ordering is another solution when it comes to organic food. Many people are familiar with this particular type of ordering since it offers a wonderful budget strategy in the exchange of fresh produce. How does it work? A group of people put their resources together and buy the organic food from wholesalers at their best volume pricing. If this suits you, check for local co-op or organize one of your own.
3. Ethnic groceries are another way to respond at the people increasing demand of organic food. More and more stores opt for pesticide and hormone free food, including basic produce. Check your local groceries or health food stores and find out what type of organic food they offer. You may find there many of the organic food you want.
4. Ordering organic food online? This is now possible. There are many sites that have a very varied range or organic products available for you. Moreover, most of these sites offer free or cheap shipping fees for products like cereals, pasta and many more. The advantage of online organic buying when restricted by a budget is that discounts can be available for you. This may be an opportunity to save some more money by stocking up some produce whenever you have the possibility to do it.
5. Last but not least, there is nothing better than producing your own organic food. For that, take up gardening! Every patch of dirt can be of good use if you are determined to get your own organic produce in the back yard. There are two huge advantages to this method: you have total control over the quality of your food and you save all that money for purchasing it anywhere else. The seeds and compost for a whole season of organic produce result a lot more cheaper than buying them at the store.
As you age, your body “corrodes,” just as a car does when it rusts. However, antioxidants, which are naturally occurring nutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables have bee shown to be practically “anti aging.” Antioxidants provide this anti aging benefit because they protect against degenerative disease and slow down the aging process of your skin, cells, tissues, and organs by protecting human cells from oxidative damage, which is like metal rusting. Antioxidants have been shown to increase immune resistance to flues, viruses, and infections, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, and help prevent glaucoma and macular degeneration. Antioxidants in food often include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as selenium, zinc, and phytonutrient carotenoids.
Foods rich in antioxidants include vegetables including broccoli, spinach, greens, brussels sprouts, beets, red peppers, carrots, and tomatoes, as well as fruits including berries, oranges, pink grapefruit, apricots, plums, peaches, red grapes, and papaya. However, the problem is that many people do not eat enough of these fruits and vegetables, sometimes not at all. That is why there are also many nutrient supplements on the market that are focused on providing antioxidants to the body.
The benefits of raw food has started gaining much wider attention due to the various health benefits it provide compared to cooked food stuffs. Many people are now starting to discover numerous ways on which foods are right to consume raw, which are not, and those which confers much nutrition.
Many food experts have commended on the benefits of raw food considering the many health benefits it provide. One is the live microorganisms contained in raw food that help out in digestion and replenish the normal flora lost in the body during medication along with other enzymes that help in the same respect. This only means that raw food contains all the nutrients there is in food unlike when it was already subjected to heat as in the case of cooking.
A number of raw food diets exist and one of them is raw food foodism, where all kind of food stuffs can be a candidate for consumption. This is in contrast with people who only selects a few number of food types such as the raw vegans that only eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouts.
Juices, meats, and fatty foods are the only food stuffs consumed by people on a primal diet. Although the types vary, all these diet types are bound by the same fact — all of them aim to consume that 75% of everything they eat raw.
Weight loss is also one of the good benefits of eating raw food. Raw food contains substances that increase the efficiency of the digestive system to break down the food we eat. Most raw food eaters who prefer eating vegetables experience this.
Vegetables contains enzymes, they are loaded with tons of enzymes and the heat in cooking removes them. These enzymes help in the quick digestion of food and thereby help burn fat.
Good skin is also one of the advantages of eating raw food. It helps out in this process of keeping the skin healthy since fresh fruits and vegetables still contain most glow-giving nutrients the skin needs.
While this information might sound a little bit more disturbing, eating raw food is beneficial to your total physical health as an individual. Eating food raw removes the possibility of eating trans-fat and other harmful chemicals that are produced when the food is being cooked in high temperature. This information is proven by science as a result of numerous studies conducted in food technology.
Pizza, French fries, potato chips — how can you beat that? Nowadays, it is quite annoying to find more unhealthy food available in stores instead of real food. In fact, there are more chances to buy instant snack food than the healthier ones! But do not give up on keeping your kids healthy just yet. There are ways to get your picky eaters to munch on the good stuff.
- Do not pick the unhealthy ones. Stock up on fruits and vegetables. The chips can stay at the grocery and not in your cupboard where the kids can find them. They will not be so happy about this, but they will learn how to eat healthier snacks in the long run. It also does not hurt to explain why.
- Style your meals. Make them look appealing and tasty. This will encourage your kids to try tasting them. They might want their fruits with dip rather than eating them whole. Give them options on how the food can be prepared. They will be more inclined to eat them.
- Get your kids involved in meal preparations. Kids like helping out, especially in the kitchen where they can learn new things. Have them mix the dip or arrange the cut fruits. They will also have fun knowing that they had a part in preparing your meal.
- Prepare balanced meals. Having a varied array of food will give your child a chance to try something new and different while providing him with the necessary nutrients.
- Do not give up on encouraging your kids to try a dish they do not like. When you do this, try making them eat at least a few bites before they refuse. It just takes time to get kids accustomed to new things, even vegetables.
- Set a good example. Make them see that you enjoy eating healthy food. They will be more inclined to try vegetables, fruits, and healthy snacks when they see you happily eating them. While you are munching on healthy stuff, invite them to eat with you as well.
It is better to start introducing healthy foods early on. Your kids will not only benefit from the vitamins and nutrients, they will also grow up to choose healthier options. As parents, we can introduce our kids to a healthier lifestyle. Doing this while they are young will lower their risk of acquiring diseases later on. Now is always the right time to start.