Sunday, December 22, 2013

Is Pasta The Enemy?

In the low carb/no carb era of dieting, pasta has definitely become a no-no. As someone who grew up in an Italian family, I will never give up my pasta! Although I could happily eat pasta and a load of fresh bread every night of the week, I realize that is not the best idea. High carb meals spike your blood sugar levels and they don't have the long satiating effect of more protein based meals. For me I have always given into my love of pasta by choosing healthy additions, like adding lots of veges and staying away from the cream based sauces and of course portion control.

However, there are some healthier pasta options. One I recently discovered and that I am a true fan of is mung bean pasta. Mung bean has a very neutral taste so it easily takes on the flavor of the sauce. It cooks quickly, easily made to be al dente, gluten free and chock full of protein!

1 serving of mung bean pasta equals:

25g protein
Only 17 carbs per serving
Rich in iron - 36% daily recommended dose
Low sodium
11g fiber

Although I have eaten mung pasta with a variety of sauces, even just plain marinara, one of my favorites is with avocado basil pesto - yum! Here is the recipe:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 1/2 cups tightly packed basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup mashed avocado
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 to 2 cloves raw garlic ( I love garlic and always use 2 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water, if needed


Blend all ingredients together in a blender of food processor adding water as needed to reach your desired consistency. I usually add additional olive oil to thin it out. Adjust lemon juice and salt according to your tastes as well.
This is not my recipe and unfortunately I could not find the original link, but it is so delicious and super simple to make, that I had to share it! Lasts in the fridge for several days. Its also good on sandwiches or toast - I could eat it all day!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Aloe: It’s Not Just For a Sunburn

Whenever anyone mentions aloe vera, all I can think of is a trip to the Bahamas I took with my 2 best friends our senior year of high school. It was a little cloudy so we didn’t bother with sunscreen and boy did we pay for that stupid decision! Aloe is well known for its abilities to soothe sunburned skin, but it has a lot of other wonderful benefits as well.
Aloe is a great natural skin treatment. Aloe vera gel nourishes and hydrates your skin. It also promotes skin regeneration, which is excellent for aging skin. Plus it feels amazing! Similar to how soothing aloe is on your skin, it can also ease internal inflammation when ingested. The polysaccharides contained in aloe have been shown to be beneficial to the digestive tract, so it can be helpful for people who have IBS and other digestive disorders. I have struggled at times with minor digestive issues and have definitely found that taking aloe regularly does help. Other benefits include stabilization of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and it’s a great immunity boost. Aloe vera contains a number of vitamins like A, C, E, folic acid and even B12, along with being mineral rich. I have been told that it is also a fabulous hair treatment, but have yet to try it.
So what kind to get? There are numerous aloe juices on the market, however most of them are not of high quality - they are mostly water and fillers containing very little of the actual juice. Also I have found the taste to not be very good. There are a lot of juices that are said to be whole leaf, which sounds like a great thing, but the only part you want is the aloe vera gel. The whole leaf contains a brown sap called aloin, which is very bitter and studies have shown that it should not be ingested. You can find juices that have extracted the aloin out, but again you want to make sure the juice is of good quality and made with pure aloe vera gel.
I have recently discovered a dehydrated aloe vera gel, which can be reconstituted in juice or water. It is 100% aloe vera and because its so concentrated, you only need to use a very small amount.
Aloe Vera 100 Drink from Good Cause Wellness.
For more info on Aloe: