Thanksgiving recipe.

Eat Well: Our Favorite Simple Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is as much about the food and flavors as it is about giving thanks and practicing gratitude. Your table is likely full of dishes and recipes that have been passed down or are traditionally served for this holiday, but this year you may want to consider trying something new. Our super simple Thanksgiving recipes are quick and easy to make and are sure to please everyone gathered together. We’ve included a breakfast, appetizer, side dish and dessert so you can enjoy new flavors at any meal.

Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin Muffins
Thanksgiving dinner steals the show this holiday, but you still need to eat breakfast to get your body going so you can make all the delicious dishes to fill your table. Start your morning with these super easy and festive pumpkin muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 18.5 oz box yellow cake mix
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease muffin tin (or line with muffin paper liners). Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl and spoon equal amounts of batter into muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.

Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Say goodbye to the can of cranberry sauce and hello to the taste of fresh cranberries. This easy cranberry salsa makes a great Thanksgiving appetizer served with cocktails.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions cut to 3 inches in length
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
  • 2 limes juiced
  • ¼ to ½ cup white sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese

Add cranberries, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno, lime juice, sugar and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Chop to a medium consistency and refrigerate. For best flavor, allow the salsa to refrigerate for 24 hours prior to serving. To serve pour salsa over softened cream cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

Roasted red potatoes

Honey Mustard Roasted Red Potatoes
Who says you have to eat mashed potatoes? If you feel like switching things up at the table a bit this year, try this delicious take on roasted red potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 red potatoes quartered or cut into 1 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add all ingredients to a large bowl except the potatoes. Whisk the olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper together. Add potatoes and toss to make sure all potatoes are coated. Roast in preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender. Depending on your oven this may take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes, potatoes are done when a fork easily slides into potatoes.

Chocolate rum balls.

Chocolate Rum Balls
Traditional desserts like pumpkin and pecan pie are definitely a tasty treat, but sometimes you’re a bit too full after dinner to enjoy a slice. These simple, bite-size desserts are made a few days in advance (to allow for best flavor) so they won’t take any time out of your holiday.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • ⅓ cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup spiced rum
  • 1 gallon plastic zip bag
  • Additional confectioners sugar

In a large bowl, mix vanilla wafers, confectioners sugar, unsweetened cocoa and nuts. Once well mixed, blend in honey and spiced rum. Refrigerate for one hour. Shape rum ball dough into one-inch pieces. In a gallon sized plastic bag, add some additional confectioners sugar. Pour confectioners sugar into bag, add rum balls and shake well. Once coated with confectioners sugar, set aside in an airtight container for a few days to develop flavor.

Our favorite simple Thanksgiving recipes don’t require much time to prepare but they sure taste like they did. Wow your crowd with some new flavors by whipping up one of these tasty recipes. Start a new tradition this year with our favorite simple Thanksgiving recipes that your friends and family are sure to look forward to all year.

Healthy colorful salad

Eat Well: Recipes High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential in order for your body to function healthily. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says, “[v]itamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs work properly.” One of the other organs that vitamin A benefits is the largest organ of your body, the skin. Vitamin A is excellent for helping to treat acne and aging and it was the first retinoid to be approved by the FDA to effectively treat wrinkles. While vitamin A may help skin a bit more when applied topically, having some in your body certainly helps your skin and it provides essential functions for other areas of your body. Here are our three favorite fall recipes that are high in vitamin A.

Seared Sesame Tuna

Seared Sesame Tuna
Tuna is a good source of vitamin A. In a one ounce serving of tuna, you receive around 15% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe calls for 6 oz tuna steaks, meaning that your seared sesame tuna accounts for over half of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tuna steaks (6 oz)
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet Japanese wine)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup black sesame seeds

Grab a small bowl and add soy sauce, sesame oil, raw honey and mirin together and divide into two equal parts. Pour one part into another bowl. Stir in rice wine vinegar and set aside. Spread black sesame seeds out on a plate. Brush soy sauce mixture onto the tuna steaks and press lightly into the sesame seeds. In a pan, heat olive oil on high heat. When very hot, place tuna steaks in the pan and sear each side for about 30 seconds (or longer depending on how you prefer your tuna cooked). Remove from pan and serve with the dipping sauce you set aside.

Roast Veggies

Harvest Vegetable Bake
This comforting dish combines three amazing sources of vitamin A. Just a one-cup serving of kale provides you with 354% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe also calls for red bell peppers, sweet potatoes and squash which are all great dietary sources of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes diced
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 small acorn squash diced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil and butter to a pan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt, then add the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash and shallot. Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are tender, stir in the chopped kale and sage. Continue to cook over medium heat for five more minutes, until kale is wilted.

Dried Apricot Jam

Dried Apricot Jam
Dried apricots can be enjoyed on their own, but for a bit of variety mix up this tasty jam that a perfect addition to your morning oatmeal of slice of toast. A half-cup serving of dried apricots contains 151% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups dried apricots
  • 4 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup stevia powder (or less depending on how sweet you want your jam)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 1.75 oz package powdered fruit pectin

Bring water to a boil and add dried apricots. Cook for 30 minutes, or until apricots are hydrated. Take the apricots and water and place in a food processor with vanilla bean paste. Working in small batches, blend until well combined but still slightly chunky. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the processed apricot mixture with pectin and cook just until boiling. Add stevia powder and lemon juice and boil until dissolved, about one to two minutes.

In a stock pot, sterilize jars and lids for canning for five minutes. Pack apricot jam into jars, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top. Once jars are filled, run a butter knife along the inside to get rid of any air bubbles and remove any jam residue from the rims of the jars. Add lids and screw on rings. Place a rack in the bottom of the stock pot and fill about halfway with water. Bring water to a boil, then using a holder, place full jars on the rack. Leave space between each jar and if necessary pour more water into the stock pot, enough so that there is about one inch of water on top of the jars. Bring the water to a roaring boil, cover the pot and allow 10 minutes to process. Remove jars from the stock pot and allow to fully cool, about one hour. When cool, press the top of each lid down to ensure it is airtight for storage.

Carrots, bell peppers, squash, kale and other dark, leafy greens and tuna are all excellent sources of dietary vitamin A. You can whip up a simple kale salad for lunch and add some chopped bell peppers, carrots and sliced tuna on top. Eating for your body doesn’t have to be boring or difficult, these three fall recipes that are full of vitamin A are simple, delicious and nutritious.

squash food

Eat Well: Fall Squash Recipes

Pumpkin is actually a type of squash and it tends to steal the show during fall. However, other varieties of squash are just as delicious and versatile when it comes to fall cooking and baking. Our favorite squash recipes cover the basis from traditional, cozy classics such as a cream soup to zesty, Mediterranean-inspired spaghetti squash. Whip up these recipes for a delicious taste of fall.

Butternut Squash Cream Soup

Butternut Squash Cream Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cubes chicken bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Saute butter and onion until tender in a large saucepan. Add squash, water, chicken bouillon cubes, marjoram and black and cayenne pepper. Bring everything to a boil and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. In one cup batches, puree the soup mix and cream cheese until smooth in blender or food processor. Return pureed soup to the saucepan and heat thoroughly, but do not allow to boil.

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash seeded and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly grease a baking sheet and preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on the greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until a sharp knife can be inserted with just a little resistance. This process usually takes about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside while allowing the spaghetti squash to cool. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and tender then add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about two to five minutes. Finally, add tomatoes and olives and stir just until warmed through. Scoop the stringy pulp from the cooled spaghetti squash and place in a bowl. Add vegetables and feta cheese and toss together.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss butternut squash, garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper together until thoroughly mixed. Spread evenly into a large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender, caramelized and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs acorn squash halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ¾ inch slices
  • ¼ grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss squash slices with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, thyme sea salt and black pepper until evenly coated. Place slices on baking sheet and roast in oven until the squash slices are tender and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Squash is excellent during any time of the year, but it is particularly festive during the fall. Our favorite fall squash recipes only scratch the surface of what you can create using squash as your primary ingredient. Make a traditional Bolognese sauce for spaghetti squash or use butternut squash in place of yams for your Thanksgiving casserole. Gather your ingredients and your family and create a comforting fall squash meal tonight.

Baked apple

Eat Well: Fall Apple Recipes

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the saying goes. Apples are a healthy, delicious and versatile fruit that is absolutely perfect during the fall. Apple slices make a great snack, but there are so many interesting apple dishes you can make. All of the fall apple recipes here can be made using any type of apple depending upon the flavor you want to achieve. A Granny Smith apple will give you a tasty and tart flavor to your meal while a Jazz apple lends hints of citrus fruits. Experiment with different apples to find your perfect fall apple recipe.

Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad

Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast cooked
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1 apple cored and diced
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup seedless grapes halved
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise

Shred (or dice) chicken breast. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples cored and chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, then mash together.

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups cubed whole wheat bread
  • 3 ¾ cubed white bread
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 apple cored and chopped
  • ¾ cup cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cup turkey stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. On a large baking sheet, spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer. Bake for five to seven minutes, until evenly toasted, in preheated oven. Remove from oven and transfer cubes to a large bowl. Cook sausage and onions over medium heat. Add celery, sage, rosemary and thyme and cook for several minutes to blend all flavors. Pour sausage and onion mixture on top of bread cubes. Add chopped apple and cranberries to the bowl and  mix. Drizzle turkey stock and melted butter over the baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove foil and cooked uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Apple Pecan Quinoa Salad

Apple Pecan Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large apple chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Add chicken broth and quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan and allow to cook until all broth is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and ground cinnamon. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Drizzle sauce over the quinoa and stir. Add apple and pecan pieces and cover saucepan. Allow the mixture to steam together until apples are slightly softened, about five to 10 minutes depending on your preferences.

Everybody loves a fresh apple pie or a warm apple crisp, but these recipes give you unique ideas on how to use fall’s favorite fruit. Relax and enjoy a cozy autumn night with a plate of baked chicken and apple stuffing or enjoy the quinoa salad for lunch on a crisp fall day. Try different apples, fresh herbs or other spices to customize these recipes to your palate. Relax

Pumpkin recipes

Eat Well: Fall Pumpkin Recipes

When you think fall you think pumpkins and when you think pumpkins you think pie, cookies and lattes. While pumpkin pie is definitely a must-have for fall, we’ve rounded up three fall pumpkin recipes that use pumpkin in ways you might not have before. We’ve got a breakfast, lunch/dinner and dessert that are perfect for fall.

Pumpkin pancakes.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Start a cold weekend morning off with a cozy taste of fall.. These pumpkin pancakes are a treat for the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. When combined, add to the pumpkin mix and stir gently, just enough so that the two are combined. Heat a pan over medium heat and pour batter onto the pan using ¼ cup at a time. Brown on both sides and serve with your favorite topping. This recipe makes about 6- ¼ cup pancakes.

Pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin Soup
Warm dishes and the ubiquitous fall flavor are the perfect mixture for fall. Try this creamy soup to fill you up and keep you warm.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ¾ cup fresh cubed pumpkin (use 1-inch cubes)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 2 whole black peppercorns

Bring chicken stock, cubed pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme, peppercorns and salt to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Remove one cup of the mixture at a time and puree using a food processor or blender. Return all of the pureed soup into the original pot and bring to a boil once again. Reduce the heat to low once again and allow the pureed soup to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, pour into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. This recipe makes about four servings of soup.

Pumpkin mousse.

Pumpkin Mousse
Everybody loves pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice cookies, but this easy mousse is a new and delicious way to serve pumpkin for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 24 small marshmallows
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Begin by melting the butter in a large skillet. Stir in marshmallows, milk and pumpkin. Continue to stir frequently until melted, creamy and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Allow to cool completely for about 30 minutes. Combine confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream in a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture and spoon into serving dishes. Cover and place in the fridge until firm (around two hours).

There are so many amazing culinary uses for pumpkin, you just have to think a bit creatively. Make a savory pumpkin chili or whip up a pumpkin protein smoothie. Gather your family and test out our fall pumpkin recipes for a fun and filling meal.

Woman making a quick dinner

Get Dinner Out in a Flash

Your life is busy and your time is precious. It can be so tempting to go and pick up a pizza or head to a drive-thru for a fast meal, but you could spend the time it takes to do those things making a super fast and healthy meal at home. Healthy cooking can be incredibly time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our four tips to get dinner on the table in a flash help you minimize the amount of time required to cook dinner while maximizing the health benefits of your meals.

Salad bar.

Visit the Salad Bar
Your local grocery store’s salad bar is a great place to visit, but perhaps not for the reason you’re thinking. Sure, you can grab a quick meal to go, but we have another idea in mind. Chopping, peeling and dicing vegetables can be super time consuming and you may not need the equivalent of an entire bell pepper or head of broccoli. To save time, and money on wasted produce, head to the salad bar. Select what you need, diced onions, radish slices, shredded carrots and take that home so your fruit or veggies are completely ready to cook when you arrive home.

Stock Up on Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
It’s always a good idea to have some frozen vegetables on hand for quick, healthy meals. Perhaps the greatest benefit of frozen vegetables, besides the fact that you don’t have to spend time peeling, chopping or dicing, is the variety they offer. Rather than just having steamed broccoli, you can buy a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, or peas with carrots as opposed to one or the other. There are also great blends of vegetables that can help you throw together a meal that is super healthy and tastes like it took hours. Look for frozen vegetables labeled like “stir fry blend” or “soup blend” to get all kinds of vegetables without having to take up tons of freezer space. Frozen berries and other fruits are perfect for an after dinner (or breakfast) smoothie and eliminate the need to add ice to the other ingredients.

Woman using a microwave.

Use Your Microwave
Nearly every home has a microwave that is used to reheat last night’s leftovers or to make a fast bowl of soup. However, you can use the microwave to your advantage and help get dinner out quickly. One of the greatest ways to use the microwave is as a speedier way to prepare veggies for a side dish. Food companies now make plenty of “steam in a bag” veggie options that let you fresh vegetables in a flash. Grab a bag of green beans or cauliflower and put them in the microwave for anywhere from two to three minutes. The rawer a vegetable is, the more nutrients there are so be sure not to microwave vegetables until they’re mushy. You can also make fast baked regular or sweet potatoes. While using a traditional oven can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, using your microwave cuts the time in half with the average time being about 20 minutes for baked potatoes.

Buy a Whole Chicken
No, seriously. Many grocery stores offer either fried chicken pieces of an entire rotisserie chicken and the latter can be a super time saver for meals. Remove the skin before using the chicken to keep things healthier and dice/cut up what you need for your meal. Shred a few strips of chicken off, grab a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables and you’ve got a homemade, healthy stir fry in a fraction of the time that it would take to cook the diced vegetables and raw chicken, then cook the chicken and finally to add the veggies and let them cook.

Another way to get a healthy dinner done in a flash is to spend time on the weekends preparing everything you’ll need for a meal and then sticking it in the fridge or freezer. For instance, cut and cook your chicken strips and slice up some peppers, onions, carrots and broccoli while the chicken cools. Place all of your ingredients into a plastic bag and pop in the freezer. Take out when you’re ready to make dinner sometime later in the week. Cooking healthy may seem overwhelming, but there are some easy shortcuts that make it less daunting and still delicious.

Woman holding a collagen drink in her hand.

What You Need to Know About Collagen Drinks

The beauty and skincare world never stops evolving and new products are introduced daily. While having options is awesome, sometimes it can also get overwhelming. How do you decide what products or ingredients are actually worth the money. Popular in Asia and Europe, collagen drinks are one of the most buzzed about beauty products right now.

What are Collagen Drinks?
Collagen drinks are essentially a collagen supplement in a liquid form. When it comes to the ingredients found in collagen drinks, that varies widely based on the manufacturer. Typically, either animal extract collagen or fish extract collagen are the source of collagen in drinks. Animal extract collagen generally comes from cows, chickens or pigs, so vegetarians will want to steer clear of supplements containing animal extract collagen. Fish extract collagen is regarded as the superior type of extract because it is believed that fish extract collagen is better absorbed by the body. The majority of collagen drinks are flavored to avoid an unpleasant taste.

Do Collagen Drinks Work?
In a word, maybe. There are differing opinions when it comes to the effectiveness of collagen drinks. Drinking a collagen supplement seems like a great way to add necessary collagen to your body. The general skepticism by experts is due to the fact that the collagen protein contained in the supplement will be broken down during the digestion process, which makes it impossible for that collagen to get to your skin. California based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Katie Rodan says, “[y]our body will break it down and use it for energy. Digestive enzymes are powerful, so the collagen won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream, meaning they won’t make it to your skin.”

While the general consensus seems to be that these drinks aren’t anything more than hype, there are some that truly believe collagen drinks can work. Dr. Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London, was once a non-believer, but has since changed her mind. “Like many others, I thought the collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it entered the bloodstream and never reach the skin.” After reviewing data regarding collagen drinks, she was a believer. “After the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the entire body, including the skin, where small fragments remain for up to 14 days. [C]ollagen drinks…actually work by persuading our bodies to synthesize new collagen.”

Should You Sip Your Way to Better Skin?
While Dr. Williams was definitely persuaded by research, most dermatologists and other skin experts say that collagen drinks are not worth the money, but that doesn’t mean that you should discount all collagen supplements. A study published by the Natural Medicine Journal, proved that women who took collagen for six months had improved hyperpigmentation and percentages of pores.

Ultimately, more research is required before definitively saying one way or the other whether collagen drinks are effective or not. The data thus far is certainly promising and may eventually change the way aging skin is treated, but for now, it’s safer to stick with a healthy diet and taking great care of your skin, including remembering sunscreen every day. If you want to boost your collagen production, add fish, dark green vegetables, red vegetables and berries to your diet.

It’s always difficult to determine what new beauty and skincare trends actually work and which ones are completely bogus. For collagen drinks the jury is still out as to whether or not these are more hyped up than helpful. Increasing collagen does lead to healthier, more supple skin and diminished fine lines and wrinkles but collagen drinks may not be the most effective way to do so.

Jars of pickles.

Fermented Foods – Why They Are So Good for You

You’ve probably heard a lot about fermented foods or seen some for sale at your local grocery or health food store. While the name doesn’t necessarily suggest appetizing eats, fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics and aren’t as daunting as they may seem at first. Foods like pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt are all fermented foods that are easy, and delicious, to eat. But why eat fermented foods? Read on to find out exactly what you’re eating and why it benefits your body.

What are Fermented Foods?
During the process of fermentation, whether for beer or yogurt, yeast or bacteria feed on the natural sugars present in the food. These microorganisms create compounds such as alcohol or lactic acid that help in preserving the food. Fermented foods also gets filled with helpful enzymes and ‘friendly’ bacteria such as the ones found in probiotic products. This good bacteria works in a ways that “predigests” certain food compounds that your body may have difficulty with. Your body ends up better able to absorb the nutrients in foods and makes it easier to for your gut to process.

Why Fermented Foods?
Probiotics – There’s a reason that probiotics get so much attention; they are incredibly beneficial to your body as a whole. When you eat or drink fermented foods, your body receives good bacteria that goes right to work in your digestive system. As mentioned above, these bacteria aid in digestion and they also balance the bacteria levels in your digestive system.This leads to improved bowel health and helps strengthen the immune system.

Nutrient Absorption – While a healthy diet provides you with the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs, sometimes it is difficult for your body to absorb these nutrients. Properly balanced bacteria levels in your gut and the right amount of digestive enzymes significantly improves your body’s ability to absorb the vital nutrients from the foods you eat.

Weight Control – This benefit of fermented foods is not completely confirmed at this time. A study that was published in the International Journal of Obesity found that some types of probiotics promote weight loss. However, it’s best not to rely on the probiotics in fermented foods as a weight control measure because that same research also discovered other strains of probiotics actually encouraged weight gain.

DIY Friendly – Eating well can get expensive, but you don’t have to shell out tons of money on fermented foods, you can easily make them yourself. In fact, homemade fermented foods are most likely much better for you than store bought. When you make your own fermented foods, you are able to control the amount of salt that goes into the food, which is one traditional drawback of savory fermented foods. You also save money by not heading to the grocery store as much (fermented foods are an excellent way to preserve foods) and you may be able to cut out any probiotic supplements you may take.

Fermented Food List
Before you head to your local supermarket, be aware that most traditional fermented foods on the shelves, like pickles and sauerkraut, have probiotic bacteria. As Tuft’s University explains, “[m]ost fermented foods you can buy in supermarket jars or cans have been pasteurized and cooked at high heat, killing any friendly bacteria.”

Still, there are foods available that you can pick up on your next trip to the grocery store. Here are some of our favorite fermented foods.

  • Tempeh – Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans and is a great source of protein for those who don’t eat meat because it contains all the essential amino acids.
  • Sauerkraut – One of the easiest DIY fermented foods, sauerkraut is made using just cabbage, water and salt.
  • Yogurt – If you choose to buy rather than make your own yogurt, be sure you are buying products labeled with “contains live and active cultures” to get the benefit of probiotics.
  • Kimchi – This fermented food is like sauerkrauts spicy brother and is a great way to add intense flavor to meals.
  • Pickles – Another easy DIY fermented food, pickles are great for a quick and healthy snack.

The idea of eating fermented foods may be a bit daunting, but starting slowly you may find you prefer eating these foods over others. Yogurt or kefir, a fermented milk drink, are great ways to start trying fermented foods. Add your own fresh fruit or whole grains for a complete breakfast. Use tempeh in place of meat or serve sauerkraut as a tasty side dish. There are tons of ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet and your body, and you, will be glad that you did.

Smoothie

Sip Your Way to Better Health with Resveratrol Smoothies

Our focus this week has been on resveratrol, and the clinical trials and studies underway that make this powerful antioxidant such a great investment in your health. Resveratrol is still being studied, but the research and studies seem to suggest that resveratrol may be beneficial for a number of health conditions. With these exciting results, you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate more resveratrol into your diet. Of course, you know that red wine is an excellent source of resveratrol due to the skin of red grapes, but what you may not know is that you can still sip your way to health. Try any one of these supercharged smoothies for a boost of resveratrol and other healthy ingredients.

Peanut Butter Smoothie.

Peanut Butter Smoothie
Resveratrol is also found in some nuts, including peanuts. If you love peanut butter, grab some and indulge in this smoothie. To avoid using ice, freeze your banana beforehand. When freezing bananas, always remember to remove the peel before your pop it in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup milk or milk substitute
  • 2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave

Directions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • If you decide to use frozen bananas rather than ice, use a whole banana.

Dark Chocolate Green Smoothie
If you love all things chocolate, this smoothie is perfect for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries or strawberries are awesome)
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or other dark leafy green)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (or cacao nibs)
  • 1 mango peeled and cubed

Directions

  • Add the milk and mango to your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the frozen berries, cacao powder and mango.
  • Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add your baby spinach and give it all another good blend.

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are also sources of resveratrol. You can use one of these types of berries, or a mix of all three, when you make this smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla (or plain) yogurt

If you plan to use fresh berries rather than frozen, add ½ cup of ice to your ingredient list

Directions

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Smoothies are an excellent way to receive not only the benefits of resveratrol, but also other essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body requires. They are also a great way to start your morning or energize your afternoon. Perhaps the best part of smoothies is how customizable they are; you can tweak these smoothie recipes to your tastes. Add cacao powder to your peanut butter smoothie or substitute a peach in place of banana in your berry smoothie. Enjoy experimenting with different fruit and flavor combinations while also receiving the vitamins and minerals, and resveratrol, that smoothies provide.

Coffee and wine on the table.

How You Take Your Coffee Could Suggest What Wines You Will Enjoy

When it comes to picking out wine it can be overwhelming to decide exactly what wine varietal will be most enjoyable to your specific tastes. When it comes to your morning cup of coffee, it’s probably incredibly easy for you to determine exactly what suits you. In fact, your coffee routine is most likely second nature; you like what you like and you stick to it. Interestingly, the way you enjoy your coffee can actually help you figure out what wine varietals may be most suited to your palate preferences. There are three main components that guide your palate through a drink, both coffee and wine. Here, we share what these guides are and what wine you might like based upon how you take your coffee.

Your Palate
Your sense of taste is directly related to your sense of smell. Aroma, a term used both for coffee and wine, is an important aspect of your palate profile. You’ve undoubtedly heard the term body in reference to wine, such as a full-bodied red, but you might not be exactly positive what that means. The body of your drink, coffee or wine, is simply how your drink feels inside your mouth. You may change what type of body you prefer based on your mood, the weather and whether you are drinking wine to celebrate a big promotion or unwind after a hectic day. Lastly, acidity is an important element of your palate profile. Acidity may seem a bit difficult to determine, but it’s actually quite simple. If you were to pick up a piece of sour candy right now, would you like or not? If you would, you prefer drinks that are highly acidic, zesty and lively. If you would rather not pucker up with sour candy, you enjoy a light acidity.

Women having coffee in a bar.

Your Coffee of Choice
Black – If you enjoy a straightforward cup of black coffee, chances are you will enjoy a wine with an equally straightforward, strong flavor. Wines that feature spicey notes and a higher level of acidity are great choices to look to. Argentinian Malbec, Cabernet Franc or a Beaujolais nouveau are all wines that fit the flavor profile for a black coffee drinker.

Coffee with Sugar – If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you probably drink your coffee with a bit of sugar. Looking for sweeter wines is a good bet if you take sugar in your coffee. Some wines to start with are Moscato, Riesling or Zinfandel.

Coffee with Milk – If you take your coffee with milk, you enjoy soft, smooth flavors. When you’re looking for a wine that suits you, look for an aged wine with low acidity. Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon are two choices that have low acidity but still feature a smooth texture and flavor.

Espresso – Espresso features a thick, bitter flavor that suggests you would find wines with hearty flavors and high tannins pleasurable. Consider Chianti or Medoc wines if you enjoy a strong, bitter flavor.

Tea – Tea drinkers we have you covered too. Not everyone enjoys coffee so if tea is more your speed, look for wines that are dry and savory. A Sauvignon Blanc or Sangiovese are crisp, fresh and bright flavors that tea drinkers will appreciate.

Of course, when it comes to wine the most important rule is to drink what you like. However, if you find you’re having a hard time getting started finding wine varietals that you do like, this may be a fun way to experiment. Use this guide and see if how you take your coffee really does have an impact on the wines you prefer.