Benefits of Cooking In A Slow Cooker

Are you considering buying a slow cooker to add to your array of kitchen equipment? Wondering why you should invest in one, if you can easily cook your meals on the stove? There are quite a few benefits to cooking your meals in a slow cooker, regardless of if you have a family or are just cooking for yourself. Let’s review the mains ones now!

No Heat In The Summer

During the summer the days can get quite hot. Unfortunately, using oyur oven, particularly during the day, can make your kitchen almost unbearable. Cookign meals in a slow cooker helps avoid heating your home unnecessarily. You can still eat nutritious meals, but without all of the uncomfortable sweating!

Cozy Comfort In The Winter

Do you want a bowl of insanely delicious chili? What about comforting macaroni and cheese? Your slow cooker provides the perfect way for you to have comfort food throughout the winter months. Go ahead, get comfortable. Why not curl up at the fire after dinner?

Perfect For Busy Days

Are you running around all day? Busy at work or school? Do you have to shuttle your kids around to various activities? You can make dinner easy while also making sure it is still nutritious by using your slow cooker. All you really need to do is a little food preparation. Then all it needs is to be plugged in and set to cook! You can even find recipes online that you can put in a bag in your freezer until you need to dump them into your slow cooker, so your preparation doesn’t even need to be on the same busy day!

Lots of Leftovers

Depending on how many people you have to cook for, slow cookers are a great way to produce lots of leftovers you can then freeze and pull out throughout the week as you need them. For instance, some slow cooker recipes will make enough food for six or seven meals, which means you have dinner that night, and then at least lunches for the whole week! This can save lots of time for busy individuals.

High Volume Cooking

Looking to cook for a lot of people at once? Going to a potluck? Instead of the benefit of lots of leftovers from your slow cooker—popular for couples and individuals—it is worth noting slow cookers make it easy to cook for lots of people at once. If this is the purpose you are considering buying a slow cooker for, be sure to pay attention to the sizes available. Pay attention to the recipes you choose, and whether or not you need to adjust the amount of ingredients based on the number of servings you need.

4 Low Blood Pressure Diet Tips

Just about everyone knows having high blood pressure is never a good thing. It raises your risk of suffering a heart attack or heart disease, among other health risks. Most people believe the lower their blood pressure is, the better. Now, low pressure is often quite beneficial for the individual. Unfortunately, it is a serious issue if it starts causing symptoms like light-headedness, dizziness, or even fainting. If this is the case for you, our best recommendation is to consult a doctor. With that said, here are some simple changes in your diet you may want to  consider with your doctor to help regular your blood pressure.

Drink Water, Not Alcohol

Yes, beer, wine, coolers, cider, mixed drinks, and anything else with alcohol in it likely tastes quite good to you. However, it can actually make your blood pressure quite low, even if you only drink it in moderation. This is because alcohol actually dehydrates you, which is why you often wake up with a headache. Instead of reaching for an alcoholic beverage, try drinking more water or another hydrating fluid.

Consume More Salt

But shouldn’t you be regulating your salt intake? Yes, you should not be consuming excessive amounts of salt, but another way of increasing your blood pressure is to consume more salt than you currently are. Look at your current diet. Are you always choosing low sodium alternatives to products (e.g. Old El Paso Taco Seasoning)? Consider switching to the regular versions of some of these products. If you never sprinkle salt on your food, consider doing so in moderation for the next little while. Alternatively, you can combine the previous tip with this one and consume sports drinks with electrolytes every so often (especially in the warmer months). These have sodium in them, intended to replace what you would lose during a workout.

Take Shorter Baths and Showers

Just about everyone loves to take a hot shower or soak in a hot bath. Both are great ways of unwinding after a long day. However, if you have low blood pressure, you should limit the length of your hot baths and showers. This is because the heat can actually increase your dizziness or speed up its appearance, and if you fall in the shower, you could injure yourself. If you do not want to reduce the length of your shower, try turning the temperature down. If things are bad enough, you may want to train yourself to take cold showers most of the time.

Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Did you know your blood pressure can drop quite dramatically shortly after a large meal? To stop this sharp drop while maintaining a healthy diet, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout your day. Instead of eating just three times a day, aim for about five meals and split your regular food intake into five small portions.

Nutritional Labels: What To Look For

What is in your favourite foods?

When picking out the foods we want to eat, many people will check the nutritional label to determine what is in the food they are thinking about buying. However, most will only consider how many calories it has on the label. Many people do not know the full extent of the information they can glean from carefully reading the nutritional labels on anything in the grocery store. While there are countless ways you can look at the labels, particularly with the varying dietary restrictions around these days, we have compiled a few of the most universally important things to watch out for on all nutritional labels.

Size of Serving

If something you are looking at says it is worth 100 calories, it looks like a great choice. Unfortunately, this may not always be right, since the nutritional labels rarely ever start the total number of calories in the whole product. Instead, they state the calories for a specific serving size. For instance, a typical can of soup often has a nutritional label marked for only half of its contents. This means those 100 calories would actually turn out to be 200 if you ate the whole can. This is why you should always make a point of looking at the serving size. This way, you will have a more realistic view of the food. Compare the serving size on the product with what you would normally eat. If the calories in the cereal, for instance, say they are for 1/3 of a cup, consider if you would actually eat this amount.

Ingredient Lists

Regardless of your dietary requirements, reading the list of ingredients on the nutritional label is always an important thing for you to do. Vegetarians, for instance, may discover hidden ingredients they should be avoiding, such as gelatin. Those who are lactose-intolerant, may actually find lactose in surprising places. Even if you have no dietary restrictions such as those, reading the list of ingredients can still yield good information. While not all obscure ingredients may be bad for you, many people benefit from only choosing foods where they know every ingredient on the list.

Sodium Content

Did you know you are probably eating more salt than is healthy for you? Look at the sodium content on the nutritional labels, it might surprise you. Most people only need roughly 1500 milligrams each day, though some guidelines say you could go up to 2300 milligrams. So what happens if the frozen pizza you are looking at has 900 milligrams of sodium for just three slices? Consuming too much sodium, especially over an extended period of time, can cause significant health problems, including high blood pressure. Read the sodium content on all labels to help mitigate this, and choose low sodium alternatives where possible.

Daily Percentages

When you are looking at all the elements on the nutritional label, whether this is calcium, iron, potassium, et cetera, you will often see a percentage listed next to it. This is an indicator of how much of the nutrient you should consume in a day. If the percentage is in the double digits, particularly if it is over 20%, the food is considered rich in that particular nutrient. Note you should watch your consumption of many of those nutrients in order to maintain a healthy diet. Iron, it is important to note, is one of the nutrients you should not consume too much of. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is quite safe to consume a lot of, since you will pee the excess out of your body.

Six Tips For New Vegetarians

vegetables

Making the decision to become a vegetarian and actually making the transition are two entirely different things. To help with your new resolve to avoid meat in your diet, we have compiled six tips for new vegetarians. Check back here in the future for more!

Take It Meal By Meal

If you are not ready to make the switch right away, do not worry about it. Take things slow and perhaps start by making three meals a week meatless. You can increase this as fast or slow as you are comfortable with, and before you know it you will be going meatless all the time.

Watch Your Carbs

Do not make the mistake of filling up on carbs, such as extra potatoes or pasta, just because you do not eat meat anymore. Many make this mistake, and it can result in other issues, such as nutritional deficiencies.

Talk To A Professional

If you are struggling or are otherwise unsure about how to maintain a healthy diet as a vegetarian, we would recommend talking to a professional. You can get a referral from your primary care physician for a dietician if necessary. Your primary doctor may even have their own recommendations! They can help you make sure you make the change as smooth as possible and maintain a healthy diet after the fact.

Ask Your Server

Eating out can be a challenge for many vegetarians, particularly those who have not learned the ropes yet. There are usually one or two options on the menu at most restaurants, though the limitations this provides can be tiresome after a while. Try asking your server to see about possible substitutes not listed on the menu. You might be surprised at the plethora of hidden options available to you.

Try New Vegetables

You may have only eaten a few vegetables before, such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cucumber, but as a vegetarian you can get tired of these quickly if they are the only vegetables in your repertoire. Traverse the produce section of your grocery store and look at all the options. You have eggplants, zucchinis, sweet peppers, bok choy, and countless other choices at your fingertips. If you are unsure of what to try, perhaps choose one vegetable of every colour you can find. Make your plate colourful!