Spice it UP

Ciao Fit Diva

This week, lets talk about food. Big surprise!!!  Hey, it is the fuel that our hard-working sexy bodies need to sweat and workout, think clear, better skin…I could go on & on.

I know we get stuck in ruts with the same lean proteins ( chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, shrimp), same veggies and greens and complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potato, squash).

Over the years of mostly eating healthy, I have had to get super creative with different combos of herbs, spices and sauces.   I LOVE flavor and getting creative has been like artwork.  My sister used to call me…the Martha Stewart of clean eating.  Ha!  Picture perfect dishes with all the colors from the fun variety of spices.

Make the Change

Let’s admit it: when you first make the switch from fast food, or processed to home cooking,  the flavor can be bland and boring. After years of sugar, salt, and fat, loaded with a dollop of “natural and artificial flavors”, adding salt and pepper simply doesn’t cut it.  But when you find the right spice combos for your healthy food,  you will wanna barf looking at processed food.  Also, once you make the change, you will notice so much less bloating, fatigue and notice a big energy switch.

Herbs and spices bring food to life. With a bit of experimentation, you can reach a bliss point of taste and aroma, that will take ordinary dishes to a whole new level.

Lets take a look of my favorite natural spices & fresh herbs.

Staple Spices and Some Fun Facts

 Pepper

Of course we know this famous Spice, its salt’s twin brother and always adds a kick to a dish. It is probably the most popular spice in the world. Best to buy the whole peppercorns and a grinder, but buying ground is fine too. For a sharper bite, try white pepper.

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white and black pepper

Salt

A must have Mineral for the body.  We sweat our buns off while training, we need to replenish with more than just water when we sweat for hours at a time.  Salt has such a negative rep because most americans abuse food and consume way to much processed crap that is loaded with sodium that will for sure bloat you.  Cooking with fresh foods are naturally salt free and need to be enhanced.  Try to use sea salt and pink salt as your choice.   Especially when it comes to cooking any lean protein or eggs.  It brings out the flavor!  Just watch how much you use!

salt 2                                 salt


Garlic 

Being Italian…this is my FAV😍  Whenever I cook with it, I tend to use 3x the amount the recipe calls for!  haha.  My boyfriend just laughs! There really isn’t much to tell you about this powerful spice that you don’t already know!  Eaten in high doses, it has been claimed to help shorten the duration of colds and help detox.   Just be sure you don’t get too close to anyone. When eaten in high doses, it can seep through your pores and leave you smelling kinda funky.  Haha!

It comes in many forms.  Cloves, already minced in a bottle (which is awesome during busy nights for dinner and of course powder.  As long as the cloves are stored in a dry cool place they can last for months.

Favorite ways to use:

  • Detox Combo: Sauté: spinach, dandelion leaves, kale, chopped onion, asparagus with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and about 10 garlic cloves.
  • Try slicing tomatoes & zucchini and layer in a glass baker.  Drizzle them with olive oil, balsamic, chopped fresh basil, sea salt, pepper and minced garlic.  Sprinkle a little shredded Parmesan and broil for a few min!  YUM

garl

Ginger

The ginger root is a cornerstone of Asian cooking.  It is slightly sweet & slightly hot in flavor. Goes well with garlic in many Thai, Indian, and Chinese dishes. You can keep a fresh ginger root in the fridge for several weeks, or in the freezer. Ground ginger powder is also an option. Ginger may help stop nausea and may also relieve heartburn and bloating. Try a ginger and honey tea when you’re under the weather. Or, in your water with lemon for a natural de bloating refresher.

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Favorite ways to use:

Finely mince ginger root and rub on Cod or Mahi.  Drizzled with trader joe sweet chili sauce and a little splash of soy sauce.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with rice and bok choy!

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Cinnamon

A versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Some initial studies claim it helps to reduce blood glucose and bad cholesterol, but more research is needed.  Again, just be careful how much you use! It can be overwhelming!

Favorite ways to use:

  • In Oatmeal with some vanilla almond milk, 1/2 banana and almond butter.
  • Hot or Iced Coffee
  • Sweat Treat:  Mix into plain greek yogurt with a little stevia and berries & handful of granola.

cin

 

Oregano

  Another Italian Favorite.  It has a bold yet smooth flavor.  The Greeks love oregano sprinkled on salads, while the Italians shower it on pizza and slip it into tomato sauces. Add chopped oregano to vinaigrette, or use it on chicken or seafood dishes when you want to take them in a Greek or Italian direction. Oregano is a must on my roasted veggies that I prep each week for lunches.

Interesting Fact:  This herb is also part of the mint family, so take cation if your allergic to mint.

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spray olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and oregano Bake 350′ for 15-20 min

 

Fresh Herbs

Ok, not only do these bright beautiful herbs add color & lots of flavor to any dish, they are also loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins and health benefits.  I try to keep a few planted outside year round. Easy to do when you live in Florida ☺️

Currently I have Parsley, Basil & a new one…Garlic Chives.  YUM

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Raven Approves

 

Top Three Herbs

Here are my top 3 and few Diva-licious ways to use them.  Depending on the herb, they each have different life spans.  Some get limp and wilted after a few days, some weeks.  If you like the ones I mention, just look up how to keep them fresher and longer.

Basil

By now we all know the amazing smell and taste of this Italian herb.  It’s easy to plant and grows like a weed.  Easiest way to chop this beautiful herb: Stack a few on top of each other, tightly roll up and thinly slice.  It will make pretty ribbons for your tomato salad and spaghetti squash dishes

Diva-licious ways  to use basil:

  • Sprinkle on Tomato, cucumber, avocado and onion salad.  Drizzle balsamic and olive oil, touch of pink salt and pepper
  • Zoodles, turkey meat sauce and Parmesan dish.  Sprinkle on right before serving
  • Stuff Chicken breast with basil, goat cheese, spinach and sun dried tomato

 

Dill Weed

Either you love or hate this one.  Me..LOVE

DillweedBenefits

How to use:

  • Bake on Salmon with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon wedges
  • On top of a piece of smoked salmon that sits on a cucumber slice and a little cream cheese.
  • Egg salad or your veggie omelette
IMG_4097 2
bake all together 375 for 15 min

Mint

This one is another easy grower and lasts a while in the fridge.  Mint is a fantastic palate cleanser and it also promotes digestion and soothes the stomach in case of indigestion or inflammation. When your stomach feels sick, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief. 

Diva-licious ways to use:

  • I use a few leaves along with lemon in my water each morning.
  •  Chop and sprinkle on cubed with watermelon, feta and spinach salad.
  • I have a Thai Lettuce wrap recipe where you use: Ground turkey, onion, cilantro, mint and pineapple salsa.  Leave a comment if your interested.

Conclusion

There are So many spices and herbs to flavor up your healthy, clean and lean foods.  Boring taste is the worst excuse EVER.  Hopefully my ideas help you adventure into some new food to help keep that fit diva body on track.  For more ideas…just ask.  I will also be giving you some already blended spices that are a must in your Fit Diva Kitchen in the next few blog posts.

Buon Appetito Bella Diva

– For more visit my website at  www.BellaDivaFitness.com

Follow me on Instagram & Facebook

Laura DalSanto  | BellaDivaFitness  | laura@belladivafitness.com

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