Infused Water–Fresh, Healthy, Unprocessed

infusedwater

Infused Water
Fresh. Healthy. Unprocessed.

Water is the best thing that we can drink. Add a hint of flavor with the infusion of natural fruit, veggies, herbs and spices for a special treat. It’s easy, healthy, fresh and unprocessed and you can change up the flavors for a variety of delicious treats. Drinking infused water provides your body with a portion of the nutrients of the ingredients you use. So long, soda pop and artificial sweeteners—nature’s got a better way to hydrate.

Infusion basics

Infused water is created by soaking fruit, veggies, herbs or spices in water. Over time, the water takes on the subtle flavors. You can use specially designed infusion pitchers, balls, or glasses or simply place your infusion ingredients in a glass or pitcher. Soak the ingredients in cold water for 3-4 hours in the fridge. Remove the ingredients and enjoy. After the ingredients are removed, the infused water will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cut rinds and skins off of ingredients and cut ingredients into thin slices or small cubes providing more surface area for quick dispersion of flavor. You may also want to crush some ingredients, especially fresh herbs and berries, to release more flavor, and then strain water prior to drinking. A wide variety of natural ingredients works well for infusion, including:

Fresh herbs (crush or chop for more flavor): rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, cilantro, parsley
Spices: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, cloves, vanilla bean
Fruit: berries, melon, tropical fruits, citrus, apples, pears, grapes, cherries
Vegetables: cucumber, celery, fennel, carrots
Tea: green tea, chamomile tea, herbal teas

Tasty Combinations

Rosemary and grapefruit
Strawberry, lime and cucumber
Orange, lemon and cucumber
Cucumber and mint
Cherry and lime
Ginger and lemon
Ginger and lime
Orange and pineapple
Watermelon and mint
Blueberry and orange
Strawberry, lemon and basil
Grape, strawberry and lime
Grape, pineapple
Raspberry, lime
Lime and mint
Thyme and blackberries
Cucumber and rosemary
Cantaloupe and watermelon
Cucumber, lemon and mint
Lemon, lime and orange
Watermelon and basil

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In the News-Don’t Reach for Baked Goods When Stressed

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In the News

Once thought of as safe, trans fats have been linked to heart disease and now emotional distress. The large majority of trans fats are found in highly-processed baked goods and fried foods. A common tendency is to reach for a cookie or cake when feeling down and stressed, but rather than help, a new study shows that consuming foods with trans fat may depress rather than calm. Trans fats are formed when oil is processed to make it more solid.

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Recipe: Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 large red bell pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons pitted black olives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
8 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven broiler. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise and discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet and flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a resealable plastic bag and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove from the bag and chop finely.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Combine bell pepper, cheese, olives, and basil and add 2 tablespoons to each pocket. Close the opening with a wooden pick. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken for about 6 minutes on each side until done. Remove from grill. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 210 calories, 35 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 266 mg sodium.

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Recipe: Whole Wheat Bran Muffins

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Whole Wheat Bran Muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal or flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup Stevia granulated
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
3 T applesauce, unsweetened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or oil.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, wheat bran, Stevia or brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and then stir in buttermilk, applesauce, vanilla and apple. Toast walnuts for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan over high heat, cool and finely chop. Add to liquid ingredients.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just enough so that all the dry ingredients are moistened. Use a large spoon to divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out completely clean. Cool and enjoy. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 147 calories, 5 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 145 mg sodium.

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How to Cut Back on Processed Foods

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Hopefully you’ve found enough reasons to at least consider replacing some of the highly processed foods that have made their way into your diet with fresh, wholesome foods. Here are some ways to get started.

Provide your body with enough protein throughout the day with six small meals (1/2 cup – 1 cup each) that each include a source of lean meat, skinless chicken, seafood, low-fat dairy products or legumes.

Include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. Add chopped vegetables to an egg white omelet for breakfast. Roll a slice of lean deli meat and real cheese around chopped tomato, spinach, and onion for lunch. Fill your plate with ½ cup veggies and ½ cup protein at dinner. Snack on raw veggies dipped in Laughing Cow cheese, apple slices with peanut butter dip, and yogurt with fresh fruit.

Eat unsalted nuts in small (100 calorie) portions.

Batch prepare foods ahead of time. Chop veggies, cut fruit and put them in the front of the refrigerator where they are clearly visible.

Add wheat bran to your diet as a nutritious, whole grain fiber source. Mix it with applesauce, stir it into yogurt, brown it with meat, add it to protein smoothies or eat it as hot cereal.

If you need to buy canned vegetables, pasta sauces, or beans, look for organic options. These usually don’t contain unwanted additives.

Drink plain water infused with fresh fruit or vegetable slices—light flavor without all the sweeteners and additives.

Make your own soups with fresh ingredients. Freeze leftovers in individual containers for future lunches.

Visit your local farmer’s market for the freshest produce. Search the web for new and delicious ways to prepare foods in a wholesome way.

Buy herb plants to grow indoors or out so you’ll always have fresh herbs to season foods.

Get your family involved preparing and trying new wholesome foods.

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