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4 Healthy Substitute Ingredients to Try in 2017

4 Healthy Substitute Ingredients to Try in 2017

This 2017 you should expand your culinary horizons to improve your health. According to the National Institutes of Health, people cook far less now than they did in 1965. Instead, everyone’s eating out, which researchers say is less healthy and contributes to the rise in food-related illnesses plaguing America. Learning to cook with different ingredients boosts your culinary versatility, which makes you more likely to cook rather than order delivery.

Here are a few healthy substitute ingredients you can use:

1. Vegetable Stock

If you’ve run out of meat stock for your soups or stews, you can use vegetable stock without losing any or little flavor. You can buy ready-made vegetable stock at the grocery, or make your own. Finely-cut mushrooms and kelp can taste almost like ground beef in dishes. You can add Korean fermented soybean paste to give it an umami flavor.

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If you want a traditional vegetable stock, chop carrots, bay leaf, leeks, onions, celery, thyme, and peppercorn in one-inch pieces to create a crunchy texture. Fry in a pot for 5 to 10 minutes with frequent stirring, then add water and salt and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the vegetables.

These two vegetable stocks work great for ranch style beans instead of using meat stock. If you’re making ranch style beans, you can also substitute pinto beans for kidney beans or red beans, which both have similar taste.

Even if you have meat stock on hand, it’s best if you use vegetable stock. Meat has been linked to an increasing your risk for cancer and can be high in bad cholesterol. Vegetables are antioxidant-rich, which helps combat cancer, and they’re generally very low in bad cholesterol.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

If you planned on making a lemon-spritzed meal but forgot to buy lemons (happens to all of us), then you can substitute with apple cider vinegar. Dishes like lemon chicken, halibut prepared with lemon, risotto, and many others, will all taste similar or even better if you substitute lemon with apple cider vinegar (ACV). ACV has a much stronger sour flavor than lemon’s milder sting, but that’s nothing diluting ACV with water can’t fix.

Although lemon is very healthy, ACV can carry more health benefits than lemon. ACV has been found to suppress your appetite, which can lead to weight loss. It’s been found to lower your blood sugar levels after eating, and researchers have said this makes it a viable glucose management treatment for diabetics. It’s also good for your skin and can alleviate heartburn.

3. Cabbage Buns

You’re throwing a barbecue party or you’re hankering for a burger so you light up the grill and start flipping some patties – but you find you don’t have any hamburger buns! That’s okay if you have cabbage in stock. Cabbage leaves are a surprisingly great substitute for buns. Cabbage has a firm texture, not unlike taco shells or wraps, which makes it similar to a bun.

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First you remove and discard the outer leaves, leaving the inner leaves for you to use as your sandwich bread. Thoroughly wash the raw inner leaves and then place your beef patty, cheese, and other toppings onto one leaf and cover with another! Raw cabbage leaves are nice and crispy, which makes them an excellent substitute for taco shells. They can also be used as wraps.

Cabbage buns are way healthier than bread-based buns. They have close to zero calories, while a typical hamburger bun has over 100 calories.

Cabbage is rich in B vitamins and vitamin C, which both promote the growth of a healthier beard. Doctors also found that taking vitamin C also helps you recover after surgery, which means eating food wrapped in cabbage buns after an operation can heal you. Unfortunately, your regular hamburger bun doesn’t really have any significant amounts of vitamins and minerals – it mostly has salt, fat, and carbs.

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For health reasons, you should really make cabbage buns your permanent bun choice. But if you really can’t have your burger without an actual bun, you can use your cabbage leaves to make runzas. Bierocks (also known as runzas) are baked buns stuffed with shredded cabbage, onions, peppers, and even ground beef. You make dough with a little flour and eggs and stuff it with these ingredients and bake in the oven.

4. Canned Salmon

On the other hand, if you’re hankering for a burger but don’t have any beef patties to grill, you can use canned salmon. Here’s how:

  1. Open up two cans and drain the salmon with a strainer.
  2. Remove any bones.
  3. Finely cut two red onions and 1 large sweet pepper.
  4. Beat two eggs in a bowl and mix in the salmon, onions, pepper, and half a cup of bread crumbs.
  5. Coat your hands with flour and take a bit of the mixture and ball it with your hands.
  6. Flatten the mixture into your desired patty size and bread them with the leftover crumbs.
  7. You’re ready to make some burgers!

Salmon patties should be your permanent replacement for beef patties. Again, beef causes cancer, but salmon is filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants. Salmon’s famous antioxidant, astaxanthin, is so powerful it has been found to act as an internal sunscreen that protects your skin from the sun’s UV rays if you ingest it within 24 hours of sun exposure. Beef can’t do that! And unlike beef’s heart-clogging bad fats, salmon’s healthy omega-3 fatty acids nourish your brain and protect your heart.

2017 is here and it’s time to level up your cooking skills. Try making these healthy substitutions to your dishes once in a while and you’ll be eating healthier. It will also make your meals more fun and give your routine foods a little bit of an edge.

Featured photo credit: zoli2003 via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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