5 Uses Of Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup using juiciest of tomatoes
Tomato Ketchup using juiciest of tomatoes

Imagine a life without tomato ketchup? Simply not possible. We want it on our fries, a generous slather of it on hamburger, meat loaf, hot dogs, fried chicken, pork, and even on pizzas, and on all our comfort food. Tomato ketchup, especially, the brand Heinz tomato ketchup is very popular in very American home and is a prime pantry item.  Apart from squirting it on our fries and other food items, tomato ketchup has many amazing uses.

Interesting uses of tomato ketchup

  • Effective cleaning agent

Shine your copper, brass and silver ware using tomato ketchup. The acetic acid in the ketchup is a great cleansing agent. Cleaning with ketchup is eco-friendly and cheap. For better results mix Worcestershire sauce with the ketchup and clean your metals.

  • To correct green highlights in blonde hair

Those with bleached hair or blonde hair, dives into the chlorinated swimming without a swimming cap will have a slight hue of green in their hair. Rinsing your hair with tomato ketchup after shampooing can bring back sheen and reduce the green hue. It’s a natural conditioner.

  • Pep up the taste in meat

Though, tomato ketchup is primarily a dipping sauce, you can mix it with other sauces while cooking mincemeat to bring out the flavor in the minced meat dishes.

  • Make brown sauce/barbecue sauce

To the ketchup add brown sugar, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk well and refrigerate it for half an hour so the flavors blend well.

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce

To a cup of ketchup add rice wine vinegar and brown sugar and whisk well till the sugar dissolves. The sugar and vinegar gives the sweet and sour flavor to the sauce. Drizzle it on your noodles or meat balls.

Do you know ketchup can be used as fake blood? Lycopene, an anti-oxidant, in the tomatoes make ketchup a healthy condiment. If you know any other uses of tomato ketchup, share it with us in our comments section.

What Is Artesian Water

Artesian Well Head at Hobb's Pit Access area near Lanesboro Iowa
Artesian Well Head at Hobb’s Pit Access area near Lanesboro Iowa

Bottled water industry is growing in leaps and bounds every year. There is a new brand of water popping up on the shelves of the supermarket every week. There is a huge market for bottled water, especially the artesian water. The health freaks prefer water sourced from artesian wells as it comes from the deep earth aquifer (an underground water source, that has rocks, gravel, sand or silt.)  Artesian water is packed with all the essential minerals and has relatively no bacteria, microbes, acid, toxins or any contaminants that can defile the water.

Essential Minerals Found In Artesian Water

  • Calcium – is required for bones and teeth
  • Silica – gives the fresh and neutral taste to the water
  • Fluoride – maintains the teeth in pristine condition
  • Natural electrolytes – helps to regulate the acidity level and pH in the blood, and also energizes you

Benefits Of Drinking Artesian Water

  • Hydrate

When you sweat, urinate and breath, the body loses water. The hydration needs vary from one person to another. However, minimum daily requirement for a woman is 8 glasses and for men 13 glasses. The fresh and sweet taste of artesian water creates an urge to drink more water.

  • Detox

Regular intake of water helps to flush out the toxins from the body. This does wonders to the functioning of the kidney.

  • Relief from Acid Reflux

The present day lifestyle as well as diet can trigger off acidity and burning sensations in the aero digestive tract. Artesian water is alkaline and this helps in reducing the burning sensation and reduces the acid reflux episodes.

  • Restore pH balance

Regular consumption of artesian water will help to balance the pH level of the body. Water along with healthy diet will help in fighting the effects of excess dietary acid.

  • Enhances the immunity

If the body does not get enough water, it will weaken the immune system. Drinking plenty of water helps the kidneys to flush out the toxin, the cells can absorb the nutrients and expel the toxins.

Whether you drink purified water, artesian water, mineral water or sparkling mineral water, ensure you drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.

What Exactly is Gluten-free diet

quinoa, brown rice and freekah, gluten free grains
quinoa, brown rice and freekah are gluten free grains

You must have heard about people being allergic to gluten or seen people looking for gluten-free food items in a super market. Have you wondered what gluten and what happens to those who have suffer from gluten-intolerance.

What Is Gluten

Gluten is made of two proteins known as gliadin and glutenin. These proteins are found in bread, pasta, cakes wheat. They are also found in canned soup, oatmeal and salad dressings. Gluten is what gives the bread its chewiness and cakes their airy crumb.

Why People Eliminate Gluten From Their Diet

People prefer gluten free food for three main reasons. They are

  1. Gluten intolerance – Those who are intolerant to this protein have minor skin rashes, digestive problems, intense abdominal pain or suffer from anemia. They also experience chronic fatigue, irritability, anxiety and depression.
  2. Wheat allergy – People who are allergic to wheat have stomach pain, rashes or develop hives after the consumption of wheat based products.
  3. Celiac disease – Those with this health issue display an immune reaction to this protein found in rye, barley and wheat. Gluten causes damage to their small intestine and also makes it difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients. The symptoms include minor skin rashes, digestive problems to severe abdominal pain, and anemia.

Gluten-Free Diet

Switching to this diet is not so easy as many feel deprived of many foods items. You need to focus on foods that you can eat to make the change easier. You will realize that there are many gluten free products including bread and pasta available in the grocery stores and super markets.

List Of Foods You Can Consume

  • Dairy products
  • Unprocessed nuts, seeds and beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh poultry such as chicken and eggs
  • Fresh meat

Ensure to avoid foods that contain additives or preservatives. Some of the grains and starches that can be included in this diet are

  • Tapioca
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Rice and Rice flour
  • Buckwheat
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Teff
  • Quinoa
  • Corn and corn-meal
  • Flax

Those who are on a weight-loss program and suffer from gluten-intolerance should read the label on their protein bars to check whether they are free of these proteins. Choose foods items that are naturally gluten free.

The Role Of Cheese In A Child’s Diet


Kids love cheese, no doubt.  They love to eat a lot of it. Also, you must have seen many parents feed their children with cheese when they don’t drink milk. The reason is they have several nutrients.

Nutrients in Cheese

  • Calcium

For bone health, a diet rich in calcium is much needed It reduces the risk of fractures.

  • Potassium

This mineral is important for child’s growth and its deficiency will result in loss of bone density, muscle weakness and irregular heartbeats.

  • Protein

Boosts mood and  helps perform better in studies. Deficiency in protein would lead to low energy levels and fatigue. Less protein in the body would reduce the immunity.

  • Vitamin D

Helps in development of strong bones. It’s also necessary to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Deficiency in this vitamin can lead to soft bones. Its known as sunshine vitamin.

What to look for while buying cheese for your child?

As a parent you also need to be aware of the fact that cheese has fat, saturated fat as well as cholesterol. Therefore, check the nutritional facts on the labels; compare labels of different brand before buying. Look for a product made from

  • Low-fat milk
  • Low in sodium
  • Low in saturated fat
  • Vitamin D – minimum 10%
  • Calcium – minimum 20 to 25%

Cheese or Milk- which is better

There is more calories in processed-cheese than milk. If your child is on the leaner side and requires a few pounds, the cheese is an good option. However, if the child is leaning towards obesity, cut down on the intake of cheese and serve milk.

Milk provides more vitamin D than cheese. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to many complications. So persuade your child to take milk instead of cheese.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that this diary product strengthens the child’s teeth. Some varieties such as Cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella stimulate the salivary glands and controls the acid creation that wears away the enamel of the teeth.

There should be a healthy balance of consumption of diary products. Too much of anything can be harmful to child. As a parent you need to know what is good for your child.

10 Best And Unusual Uses Of Coffee

Aromatic beverage has many unusual uses.
This Aromatic beverage has many unusual uses.

Most of us know Coffee as an aromatic beverage that gives us the punch to kickstart the day. Its sipped throughout the day by many to keep  them awake. Clinical trials also prove that caffeine can help to reduce the frequency as well as the intensity of headaches. It’s also used in exotic desserts to give the aroma and taste. However, did you know that this awesome, hot and caffeinated drink has many uses outside a tasty beverage.

  1. Composting agent

The spent coffee bean ground is a good composting agent when mixed with Lyle. They make a great source of food for the earthworms.

  1. Fertilizer

Similarly, they also make a great fertilizer for plants that grow in highly acidic soil such as roses, and azaleas. Since coffee is rich in nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium and other minerals, you can spread a layer of coffee on the soil and minerals will be gradually released into the soil.

  1. Insect repellent

The strong odor of coffee is disliked by many insects such as maggots, ants, slugs and mosquitoes.

  1. Room refresher

Use a pair of your old socks. Double up the socks and fill it with the spent coffee grounds and tie it tightly. Leave it in the nook and corner of your house for everlasting aroma.

  1. Refrigerator deodorizer

Again if you want to get rid of the odor of onions or reduce the strong smells of the food, make a sachet of powdered coffee and leave it in the back of the fridge for a week or so. The coffee has the ability to absorb the strong food smells.

  1. In grilling meat

Toast fresh coffee grounds for half a minute on medium heat and then powder it with the other spices. Rub the spice powder on the meat and marinate it for a couple of hours in fridge before grilling.

  1. As a facepack

This is simple to make. Mix a couple of tablespoons of coffee grounds with a body lotion of your choice.

  1. Hand-wash

Gently rinse your hands with coffee grounds to get rid of the stubborn smells after cooking.

  1. Dish Scrub

Use coffee grounds to remove the grease stained objects from pans and pots. However, be careful when using it on light colored items as these might be stained.

  1. Natural hair conditioner

You want shiny tress all that you need is to brew a pot of coffee, allow it to cool and then rinse your hair with it after shampooing.

Now you know some of the best uses of coffee.  Please share your uses of coffee with us in the comments section.

Why Cacao Is Known As The Food Of Gods

Ripe Cacao Fruit- native to Central and South America
Ripe Cacao Fruit- native to Central and South America

Theobroma Cacao/Cacao is an evergreen tree that is native to Central and South America. Theobroma is the Greek term for “the food of the gods”. Aztecs believed that cacao was given to man by the God of Air, Quetzalcoatl. They brewed the Cacao seed along with maize, vanilla and chili peppers to make a drink that was offered to the Gods. While Mayan who called this fruit Kakaw. According to them it was given to the mankind by the Plumed Serpent. In April, every year they honored the Ek Chuah, the cacao god.

Temple of Ah Cacao, Mexico
Temple of Ah Cacao, Mexico

It was Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Conquistador, who introduced cacao beans to the elite circle of Spain. The seeds were crushed to make highly flavored cacao powder and was then combined with maize, sugar and vanilla extract to make a drink that only the wealthy could afford.  Centuries later it was introduced to Trinidad and the African continent.

Difference between Cacao and Cocoa

  • Cacao

All the products that are produced from cacao beans such as cacao butter, nibs, powder and paste are generally known as Cacao. These products are derived from unroasted and raw cacao beans. The cacao products are made using cold-press technology. This process keeps the living enzymes and removes the cacao butter, the fat content.

  • Cocoa

The cocoa powder that you purchase from mom’n’pop stores or online are made by roasting the raw beans at high temperatures.  However, it still retains some of the antioxidants and is good for heart, blood pressure and helps in reducing stress levels.

Health benefits of Cacao

  • Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in Cacao protects the nervous system.
  • Studies show it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of many cardiovascular disease including stroke.
  • This bean has the ability to repair the damage caused by free radicals.
  • Increases the levels of neurotransmitters that promote the feeling of well-being.
  • Increases energy levels and helps in weight loss

How much to consume

No guideline exists as to how much of cacao nibs or cacao products to consume in a day. For optimal health benefits, you may consume one ounce or even less . Always use cacao products instead of cocoa for medicinal purposes.

Why You Should Drink More Water

Sip away eight glasses of water for flat belly and glowing skin
Sip away eight glasses of water for flat belly and glowing skin

A glass of water has been one drink that has been close to my heart. Sipping a glass of chilled water makes me feel good and energetic. I tell most of my friends to replace soft drinks with a bottle of water whenever they have a craving, headache, or hunger pangs.

It’s a fact, human brain is 90% water, the human body is 70% water and all the blood vessels and every cell in the body is composed of water. Therefore, it goes without saying that water is essential for proper functioning of the body. You can call it a lubricant.

How Much Water To Consume

The amount of water you should consume is an individual choice. However, if you are suffering from regular headaches, constipation or have dry skin, its most likely that you aren’t drinking enough water. Usually eight glasses of water are required by the human body. However, every body’s needs is different.

Dress up a glass of chilled fresh water with a squeeze of sweet lime, orange or lemon juice, add a sprig of mint, few slices of cucumber and toast to your health.  If you are a health freak, instead of tap water drink mineral or vapor-distilled water.

What Is Vapor Distilled Water

Vapor distilled water is the safest type of bottled water to drink as it is free of dissolved minerals. The process of manufacturing is simple. The water is boiled, evaporated and the condensed vapors are harvested into the bottles. This water has the ability to absorb toxins from the body and eliminate them subsequently. These are easily available in online stores these days.

Benefits Of Drinking Water

  • Facilitates Weight Loss

Drinking a couple of glasses of water prior to meals, reduces the intake of food. Its a natural appetite suppressant. Sipping a glass of lukewarm water at dawn kick starts your metabolism. Above all water has zero calories.

  • Fatigue Buster And Rejuvenator Of Energy

Drinking water at regular intervals allows you to think and focus better and keeps you alert. It keeps fatigue at bay and boosts your energy levels.

  • Tones Your Skin

When your body is hydrated, the skin is moisturized. It slows down aging of cells and gets rid of the wrinkles. The skin becomes supple and smooth.

  • Flushes Out Toxins And Prevents Constipation

Reduces the risk of urinary infections and kidney stones as the toxins are flushed out through sweat and urination. Water aids in digestion of food and thereby prevents constipation.

  • Boosts The Immunity Of Your Body

A water guzzler is relieved of dizzy spells, headaches, anxiety and stress. When oxygen and nutrients are absorbed by the blood easily, it increases the immunity level of the body. Similarly, consuming water also lubricates the joints and regulates body temperature.

  • Save Money

Remember water is free, if you are using tap water. Even if you consume bottled or filtered water, its going to cost you only a nominal amount. It’s cheaper than high sugar and calorie rich soft beverages and fat filled latte.

Cheers to good health!


Vanilla – A Classic Flavor With Myriad Of Hidden Benefits

Humble vanilla has numerous health benefits
Humble vanilla has numerous health benefits

When you hear the word “Vanilla”, the first thing that comes to your mind would be the vanilla flavored cakes, milk shakes and ice creams. Who would not love the aroma and taste of this pod? Imagine, the aroma of freshly baked vanilla tea cakes that wafts and tantalizes your taste buds when you enter a confectionery.

It does wonders to your mind and soul, right? Are your aware of the fact that the vanilla plant is actually an orchid and it’s the only fruit-bearing orchid that exists? The matured vanilla beans are plucked and sun-dried and cured to bring out their flavor. It’s  either sold in a whole bean form, powdered, pre-scraped, or bean paste soaked in alcohol.

Nutritional Benefits

This aromatic spice has many nutritional benefits and has been used as a medicinal food for centuries. This plant contains chemicals known as vanilloids that’s known to improve the performance of the brain as well as reduce inflammation.

What Europeans thought

Europeans used this bean to reduce stomach aches, relieve stress as well reduce hunger pangs. It’s also believed to aid in digestion, reduce joint pain. Sniffing vanilla bean is supposed to reduce nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Recent research has revealed that it can be used to treat male impotency.

Essential Minerals

Some of the essential minerals found in vanilla that your body needs

  • Magnesium – This regulates the overall functioning of the nervous system and is responsible for many enzyme reactions aiding in digestion. It relaxes the brain and enhances good mood by preventing or reducing mild depression. Also regulates blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Calcium – This spice is a rich source of this mineral. Though there are other common foods such as chia seeds, white beans and greens that are rich in calcium, a teaspoon pf vanilla bean powder in your cakes or similar bakes can you provide you with ample dose of calcium.
  • Potassium – One tablespoon of this essence has over 100 mg of potassium. This mineral maintains blood pressure levels and helps to relax blood vessels.
  • Manganese – A tablespoon of extract meets 30 percent of the daily dose of manganese needs. Manganese aids in metabolism, reduces mood swings and ensure optimal functioning of the nervous system.

Happiness hormones

Do you know that the vanilla is one of the aphrodisiac foods? It has the power to enhance the love and happiness hormones oxytocin and dopamine respectively. Also it will up your libido. This could be the reason that the chocolate and vanilla are the two ingredients that have been liberally used for centuries. This ingredient is currently used in many of the organic plant-based protein powders.

Are you going to use vanilla pods to boost your energy and enhance the performance of your brain.

Why Protein Bars Before And After A Workout

A fist full of proteins before a workout
A fist full of proteins before a workout

For most of us getting motivated to go regularly to the gym for a workout is the hardest part. If you have a few health freak buddies to drag you to the gym and encourage you, then it’s really helpful; if you can afford a personal trainer who can motivate you to push a tad bit harder to achieve better results, then there is nothing like it.

 If you are novice to a workout regime and you have been asked to snack on a protein bar pre or post workout, you would be confused. As you would not know which one to choose.  There are different types of protein bars available in the market. Also before buying them, you need to know the benefits of eating a protein bar and how they will aid in your weight loss program.

What Are Protein Bars

Protein Bars contains isolated proteins from a couple of sources such as soy, milk or eggs as main ingredient. Carbohydrates, fats, vitamins or minerals are also some of the ingredients in most of the protein bars. These are available in various flavors. Whether these bars are good for your overall health or not depends on the quality of the protein and other ingredients as well as the amount of the added ingredients.

Preferably, you should choose a protein bar that has no added sugar but sweetened with plant extracts such as Erythritol, Stevia and Sucralose, that are not harmful for the body. Ensure the bar of your choice is gluten free and made with whey and milk protein isolates.

Why Eat A Protein Bar Before Exercising

To get the best out of your fitness regime, its recommended to eat a protein bar an hour before the workout. The two reasons are

  1. When you snack on a protein bar before exercising, it gives you the energy to do your workouts. Therefore, choose a protein bar that is high in carbohydrates for pre-workout.
  2. The protein content in the bar, be it whey, soy or others, will prevent a decrease in the blood sugar during the workout. This will boost your energy levels.

Why Only Have A Protein Bar After Exercise

Experts opine a protein bar after workout help the body burn more fat. But how?

  • Energy bank of your body are the glycogen molecules. However, it’s the brain and the nervous system that need the glycogen molecules more than the muscles. During the workouts, the energy is depleted and the muscles start using the energy by burning fat.
  • When you consume a protein bar after a strenuous workout, it’s your brain and the nervous system that consumes the glycogen. While the muscles use the protein to build more muscle. This increases the base metabolic rate that ensures you burn more calories.

It’s going to be a balancing act. Some days you feel you need extra boost before exercising and on some days an extra protein bar after the workout. Listen to your body at these times.

Five Top Reasons Why Americans Consume Coffee Everyday

coffee everyday

You see Coffee in every Restaurant, Gas station, Grocery store, Airport and in every American home. If you go by the numbers revealed by the National Coffee Drinking Trends 2010, National Coffee Association, United States, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 consume coffee every day. Recent scientific studies reveal the health benefits of consuming the dark brownish black beverage.

Have you ever wondered why you happen to see mostly coffee everywhere and not tea? There are many historical reasons rooting back to the Revolutionary War. Apart from providing that pick-me-up punch in the early mornings it has many proven health benefits.

  1. Its A Natural Mood Enhancer, Pain And Stress Reliever

A study by Harvard’s School of Public Health in 2011 claims that women folk who consume coffee on regular basis have lesser chance of depression. Who wouldn’t love the aroma of the roasted coffee beans. Experiments and studies have shown that a cup of coffee or rather the aroma of freshly brewed coffee can relieve you of stress and muscular pain.

  1. For Healthy Heart Sip A Cup Of Coffee

A Dutch study that included over 37,000 folks over a period of 13 years has revealed that those who consumed two to four cups of coffee daily were 20% less prone to heart diseases as compared to light or heavy coffee drinkers. The reason is that the dark beverage protects against arterial damage that is caused by inflammation.

  1. May Curb Certain Types Of Cancers

A recent study published by Harvard School of Public Health show that men who are regular consumers of coffee are at a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Similarly, it also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women by 25%.

  1. Keeps Diabetes At bay

Recent research suggests that there is a link between drinking coffee and reduced risk of diabetes. A study conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu, in 2009, found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by seven percent for those who were moderate drinkers.

  1. Liver Loves Coffee– A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that an increased consumption of coffee can prevent or reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis. That is a 20% decrease for each cup that is consumed.

Now you know why coffee is the most preferred drink by the Americans. There are a varieties of coffee ranging from Brazilian coffee to Turkish coffee available in the gourmet category in most of the prominent online stores. For those who would prefer to carry their own brand and flavor of coffee to the workplace, there are one-cup gourmet coffee available in the market. Choose your favorite to enhance health.

Coffee is good for health no doubt. But the caffeine affects each person differently. If you experience any negative effects, consider cutting down on the consumption. You should be aware of how much is healthy and how much is too much.