Tag Archives: lemon juice

Morning Health Shot

 

One of the most consistent recommendations for better health is     always to drink more water.  It is almost certain the majority of        people do not drink as much water as they need.  (Take your weight, divide it in half, and that is how many ounces you need per day. For example, a 200 pound man needs about 100 ounces of water.)  The next most common advice I have found is to drink lemon water, possibly with cayenne pepper and/or honey every day.

The reasons for doing so range from boosting the immune system to cleansing the liver, kick-starting the metabolism and weight loss to a burst of natural energy.  Lemon juice itself has several health               benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, detoxifying with Vitamin C, reducing diabetes risk, and aiding in alkalinizing the body.  Lemon is antioxidant, astringent, and contains boatloads of vitamins and minerals.

Lemon and Pepper

Cayenne pepper is recommended because it contains capsaicin, a spicy compound which stimulates the circulatory system.  It opens capillaries, aids digestion, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.  It also kick-starts the metabolism and increases your internal body temperature, which can contribute to weight loss over time.

And finally, honey can also help in weight loss when consumed with warm water and lemon juice. Honey is packed with 22 amino acids and a number of valuable vitamins and minerals, many of which       benefit the body’s metabolism. By regulating metabolic function, food is broken down and utilized properly, fat is converted into usable energy, and overall health is improved. Be sure to use local, raw, unfiltered honey whenever possible.

Heart shot glass

I gave this a try for 4 weeks.  I could not handle the full-glass-of-warm-spicy-water, so I distilled it down into one shot.  I know, the whole drink-a-big-glass-of-water is part of the deal, but I always        followed it with a 16 oz glass of water.  Here’s what I did:

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh when I had it, bottled when I didn’t)
  • 1-2 tsp local honey
  • Pinch chipotle pepper (I didn’t have cayenne, but it is basically the same thing)

Mix those in a shot glass, down it, and follow with a big glass of plain water.

The results?

Well, the horrible taste of sweet/acidic/spicy does kinda wake you up a bit.  Overall I didn’t notice a huge variation in energy levels, in the morning or throughout the day. Neither did I notice a big difference in how I felt, health-wise.  This may be because I already eat a pretty nutritious diet full of things that help detox and alkalinize me, but I didn’t notice a big enough difference to stay with it long term.

 

How about you guys? Have you ever tried a lemon water/cayenne detox, or is it part of your daily life? What benefits have you seen? Please share your experience in the comments!

 

Chicken Piccata with Zoodles

 

Ask any gardener, and they will tell you that by mid-to-late summer zucchini plants are going bananas, and you can’t give the stuff away fast enough! This is an awesome time of year, when zucchini can be had cheaply at the super markets and farmers markets (or maybe your neighbor, just ask nicely).

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My striped zucchini

Be prepared, there may be lots of zucchini recipes in the near future, especially since I planted 8 plants this year! Here’s an article with a dozen recipe ideas, I’m sure at least a few will find their way to my test kitchen in the upcoming months.

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The regular and grey zucchini

This recipe was my first experience with the new food craze of “zoodles”, the cute name for noodles made from zucchini. You can try to hand-julienne them, but a mandoline slicer makes the job far easier. Bascially, the whole zucchini gets shredded into thin noodle-like strands and cooked, then treated like pasta. But way healthier! You’ll get loads of vitamins, plus fiber.

This chicken piccata recipe makes enough for 4. You could easily cut this in half, or double it and freeze some, depending on your mood. I mixed half regular pasta and half zoodles for my first taste, but you can feel free to go all-in, or even use spaghetti squash pasta instead.

Ingredients:

  • 4 half chicken breasts
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 huge ripe zucchini
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-6 tbsp capers
  • Sea salt to taste

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Step 1: In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil. Dice the garlic into tiny pieces, and cut the ends off the zucchini. Add the garlic and chicken to the oil, and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink at all.

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Step 2: Boil your pasta noodles 8-10 minutes. While pasta is boiling, take out the mandoline and slice the zucchini into thin strands*. Add the zoodles in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking with the pasta.

*See bottom of post for full instructions

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Step 3: Drain the pasta and zoodles. Add to the pan with the chicken, and pour in the oil, lemon juice, and capers. Cover, and steam cook 5-7 minutes.

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Once everything is heated through, place on plate, season to your liking, and serve! This is a double-portion, because my fiancee eats like a racehorse who just finished the Triple Crown.

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The capers and lemon juice give this dish a nice tangy flavor, while the zoodles add a mellow vegetal taste.  You could also use shrimp here, or broil or boil the chicken instead of pan-frying. Go forth and get your servings of sneaky veggies!

 

To make zoodles:

1. Set your mandoline to the thinnest setting. This will make long thin sheets. Add the comb to slice into noodles.

2. Place the zucchini flat on the mandoline top-to-bottom (lengthwise) and push down the mandoline face. This will cut the first layer. Move the zoodles from  underneath the mandoline to a plate.

3. Put the zucchini back to the top of the mandoline, now flat side down, and push down again. Continue until you have a very thin layer left. Hand-slice this layer, or be very very careful to not slice off your thumb!

Thai-style tilapia and pak choi

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I love Thai food, and recently came across a recipe for Thai-style steamed fish. So of course I took it and made it my own based on what I had in the house. I had just brought home some fresh pak choi (an Asian vegetable like cabbage) from the farm I’m working on. I also had one more tilapia fillet in my freezer, and a lemon in my fridge. So…
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Ingredients:
  • 1 tilapia fillet
  • 4 small bunches pak choi, rinsed and roots cut off
  • 1/2 lemon + juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Thai red chili spices
  • Olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
Step 1: Cut a square of aluminum foil, roll up the sides a bit so the oil doesn’t run out. Pour about 2 tbsp oil in, add a bit of spices. Put the tilapia on top, and another sprinkle of spice. Then squeeze half the lemon juice, and add a slice or 2 for good measure.
Step 2: Arrange the pak choi around the fish, sprinkle garlic and sea salt over it all.

Step 3: Roll up the sides and seal the top, leaving space for steam to circulate. Put in the top part of a steamer.

Step 4: Boil water underneath the steam basket. Let this cook for about 20 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and the fish is white and flakes with a fork.

The greens have a tangy bitterness from the lemon juice, and the fish’s natural flavors complement the bite of the red Thai chili spices. It smells lovely, and tastes fantastic! Plus it is only 400 calories!

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories: 403.4
  • Total Fat: 30.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 55.0 mg
  • Sodium: 2,553.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.6 g
  • Protein: 26.4 g