Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

A Farmers Market: The Ultimate Organic Pharmacy

When I think about farmers markets, I envision the bustling, happy experience I had when I was in small-town Washington.

Flowers from farmer's markets are among the best...just look at these peonies!

Flowers from farmers markets are among the best… just look at these peonies!

Orange leaves were scattered across the semipaved dirt ground as families went from table to table buying anything from arugula to artwork. Boy, was it a surreal experience.

I relive this pleasant experience every time I’m at farmers markets around the downtown Phoenix area.

I see the same vision, only with slight modifications. I see the vibrant downtown community composed of ASU students, young professionals and families engrossed in the urban lifestyle, all intermingling in the name of consumerism — but there’s something different about this consumerism.

Investing in items from farmers markets is very different from investing in items from your average grocery store. Not only do you buy veggies and other organic products that are naturally grown without the perils of preservatives, you also nurture your community and your neighbors by supporting them financially.

In the downtown Phoenix area, the Phoenix Public Market provides the most accessible farmers market for students and has quite a few key items that could enhance your health greatly.

Here’s a list of healthy items you can find at the Phoenix Public Market farmers market:

  1.  Free-Range Eggs: Eggs produced from chickens that are allowed to roam have less fat and cholesterol than the average egg and also provide extra vitamin A, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Local Honey: Honey produced from bees in your local area contains pollen specific to your area of residence, providing increased defense against seasonal allergens that could hijack your winter experience. Downtown Devil’s HERBan Explorer even did a feature on local honey you can find at the Public Market farmers market.
  3. Organic Produce: Studies have shown that organic fruits and vegetables contain more vitamin C, trace minerals and antioxidants than the average spread of produce. Also, less pesticides are used on these vegetables.
  4. Organic Dairy: Organic dairy is known to contain higher levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and beneficial fats.

While investing in items from the farmers market can be slightly more expensive at times, it’s definitely worth it when it comes to the health benefits they provide. The most profound benefit you can reap from products produced and grown locally is the significant lack of extra chemicals and preservatives masking the produce in the grocery stores.

So get out there! Go to the local farmers markets around the Phoenix area. The Phoenix Public Market is a great place to start due to vicinity. But, definitely branch out! There’s much to be experienced at farmers markets, and they truly are an organic alternative to some of your pharmaceutical needs.

Fall is Here!

All over the country, leaves are turning from green to orange, temperatures are dropping, boots are rocking the runway, the flu shot is available everywhere and the holiday season is upon us. Fall is here!

If you think morning runs are limited to open skies, you're wrong. Run next to skyscrapers and get on a whole new level.

If you think morning runs are limited to open skies, you’re wrong. Run next to skyscrapers and get on a whole new level.

What are you doing to gear up for fall? The activities you can do downtown now that it isn’t a scorching 105 degrees outside are infinite. Go outside! Explore your options!

Here are some ideas of ways to stay active and explore this fall:

  • Healthy Picnic in Civic Space Park: Here’s an idea — actually go to Civic Space Park with your gym buddies, and chow down on some healthy sandwiches and fresh veggies after that morning workout. I mean, what’s there to lose?
  • Morning Run Around Downtown: Instead of painstakingly forcing yourself out of bed and onto an elliptical somewhere, put on those running shoes and trek around downtown Phoenix before 8 a.m. You won’t regret it.
  • Phoenix Public Market: Walk to get your groceries! Go to the Phoenix Public Market instead of driving to your local grocery store. The walk to and from the market will do you good, and you’ll have locally grown, healthy food in your pantry.
  • First Fridays: No longer does makeup have to run on the first Friday of the month. It’s officially fall, and the sweat glands that ruin your makeup job are inactive upon stepping outside of air conditioning! Take advantage of the exercise you can get from all the walking around while you’re not collapsing onto the sidewalk from the heat.
  • Shopping: When I go to the mall, the two places I spend the most time at are Urban Outfitters and Charming Charlie. So if you’re like me, don’t drive to some crowded mall! Walk to CityScape, shop ‘till you drop, and walk back to your abode. You’ll get cute clothes and you’ll feel even cuter in them with the added bit of exercise. Also, use those walking shoes to explore a few local shops downtown, like some of the vintage stores recently featured in Downtown Devil’s A Tailored Place.

Seriously though, now that it has cooled off, you have no excuse! Staying active and healthy is so much easier. Going to an indoor gym is no longer your only way to work out. Switch it up. Go for a long bike ride, walk to breakfast with a friend or do my favorite and go for that early morning run with the skyscrapers towering over you. Take advantage of this cool weather before the heat is upon us again!

Kale Nutrition: Fact or Fiction?

Kale, anyone?

So what’s the big deal about kale? You’ve probably heard about the numerous diets that incorporate kale as a main contender in the realm of “healthy” vegetables. But what, exactly, makes kale healthy?

Let your immune system indulge.

Let your immune system indulge.

The truth is, kale has too many benefits to list. Kale is probably one of the best vegetables you can eat, despite its indistinct taste.

Firstly, kale has a lot of nutrition benefits for your daily health!

For one thing, one cup of kale contains about 20 percent of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber. In this way, it’s an ideal diet component. So, if you’re trying to shed a few pounds, throw some kale into a smoothie – it takes on almost any flavor!

One cup of kale also provides 1,327 percent of the RDA of vitamin K, making it one of the best options for bone health and nervous-system maintenance. It also provides 192 percent RDA of vitamin A and 88 percent of vitamin C. Vitamin A is vital to reproductive organs, and vitamin C protects against eye disease.

And secondly, kale also has long-term preventative health effects!

Kale is considered to have one of the highest amounts of carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants amongst vegetables, making it a star defender against cancer. These antioxidants fortify your cells against free radicals that upset the balance in your body.

It’s also known to work with your liver bile to lower cholesterol. So, if cardiovascular disease is in your family history, regularly eating kale can help prevent against heart attacks.

So now that you know kale is, indeed, quite nutritious, you’re probably wondering where you can get kale if you live downtown and how exactly to incorporate it into your diet.

Phoenix Public Market’s featured open-air market is a great option for downtown residents looking to buy kale. They generally have a wide variety of vegetables that come straight from local farms at an affordable price! Other options at a comparable price to the farmer’s market are any of the other main grocery stores around central Phoenix.

But how can you eat kale? Here are some cool recipes:

The Coconut Twist Smoothie – Combine kale with coconut milk, chopped pineapple and a banana. It’s divine.

The Minty Blue Smoothie – Combine kale with blueberries, cashews, pitted dates and mint. Reach new heights.

Kale salad – Slice kale, red pepper, onion and cranberries with a raspberry dressing. If you’re feeling adventurous, toss on some feta cheese! It makes for an interesting addition.

Kale chips – Chop kale into pieces, sprinkle olive oil a touch of sea salt on top and throw this masterpiece into the oven. It does the trick every time.

As you can see, kale is quite the vegetable. Not only does it promote the health of some of the most important body functions, including the cardiovascular, reproductive and vascular systems, it also boosts your metabolism and protects against cancer! It really is the one-stop shop vegetable. While I’m not a big vegetable person myself, I make it a point to drink that kale smoothie or munch on those kale chips. It’s an investment in my health and, ultimately, my future! I urge all downtown Phoenix residents to do the same.