Someone once told me that they use dental floss to cut their desserts. Y'all. When I heard that—and the person proved to me that doing it does indeed work—that inspired me to look up some other underrated approaches to food because, again, if folks are out here slicing up cake with floss, what else am I missing? What could I be sharing with others who enjoy food—whether it's eating it and/or preparing it—too?
So, let's do this. Here are 15 things that have revealed to me that I've either been consuming food or cooking it, not necessarily the wrong way but a way that is far less beneficial than what is listed below.
Aside from those semi-annoying tiny seeds in kiwi, I really like this particular fruit. Good thing too because it's high in vitamins C, E and K, fiber and antioxidants. In fact, what a lot of people don't know is kiwi not only supports digestion and boosts immunity but because of the high amount of Vitamin C that's in it, kiwi has the reputation for relieving asthma-related symptoms too. Anyway, while I won't be getting into all of the health benefits of every food mentioned in this article, I thought it was important to share this because the main way folks eat kiwi wrong. It's wrong because they remove the skin when it's actually the skin that contains the most nutrients. So, the next time you decide to have some kiwi, remember to keep the skin on. It's better for you that way.
Most of us grew up hearing that carrots were good for our eyes. There is a lot of truth to that, thanks to all of the Vitamin A that's in them. Carrots also contain fiber, biotin, potassium, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6 and even some protein. All of this helps to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce your cancer risk and keep you regular.
If you happen to be like me and you prefer to snack on baby carrots, you might want to consider cooking them more often. The reason why is because, when carrots are cooked, it actually raises the level of carotenoids that are in them. This is cool news because carotenoids help to protect your skin from sun damage as well as strengthen your bones, boost your immunity and even give you a little more brain power.
So yeah, that kinda debunks the myth that all vegetables are better when they're raw…doesn't it?
Strawberries are a low-calorie way to get in some fiber, Vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, several plant compounds and even a little bit of protein into your system. Eat them consistently enough and you'll be doing your part to help to regulate your blood sugar levels, protect your heart and reduce your cancer risks. Well, that is if you eat your strawberries whole. Although a lot of us like to slice this particular fruit up, the reality is that strawberries are extremely sensitive to light and oxygen. So, when both hit them, they lose their potency rather quickly. That's why it's far better to just rinse them off and eat them as is. No knife needed.
4. Grilled Fish
Do you like the taste of grilled fish but hate the clean-up process that follows making it? Something that you can do to keep your fish from sticking to your grill while also giving it an amazing citrusy taste is to place your fish on a bed of sliced lemons and limes. It will make for a delightful tasting, softer fish that won't get all into your grates. (This one tripped me out a lot, actually.)
This point was definitely an ah-ha moment for me. Have you ever opened up a container of yogurt, seen that watery stuff in it and immediately poured it out? Yeah, try not to do that. Believe it or not, what you're looking at is whey protein which is an excellent source of protein (especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan).
As you may already know, protein helps to build muscle mass, keep your hair and nails nice and strong, lower your blood pressure, reduce bodily inflammation and can even help to treat type 2 diabetes. So, unless the yogurt you're about to eat has expired, mix the watery stuff in with it and eat it like you normally would. It will literally do your body good.
Like cherries yet hate the pits of them? Here's a hack that can make eating them so much easier. Simply place a cherry "right side up" on an empty glass bottle (like a soda bottle). Then take a thin wooden chopstick and poke it through the top of the cherry. The pit will fall into the bottle and then you can enjoy your cherries with ease.
7. Black Tea
If you're a tea fan, I'm thinking that you've got some black tea somewhere in your collection. That's awesome because it's got a ton of antioxidants, it's good for your heart health, it helps to improve your gut health, lowers your blood pressure and can even reduce your chances of having a stroke. Just make sure that when you have a cup that you leave milk out of it. Interestingly enough, when you put milk into black tea, it can negatively alter the cardiovascular benefits that the tea can provide. That's because milk proteins literally make it more difficult for your system to absorb tea's vitamins and nutrients. Gee, just one more reason to consider going without dairy, huh?
Tomatoes are the kind of fruit that's really good for you because it's a great source of vitamins C and K, fiber, potassium, protein, folate and lycopene (and antioxidants that fight heart disease, cancer and aging signs). It's also got 95 percent water in it which makes it the kind of food that helps to keep you hydrated from the inside out. Anyway, while most of us tend to eat tomatoes when they're raw, it's actually best if you consume them once they've been cooked. That's because the nutrients in them significantly increase if tomatoes are prepared at around 200 degrees (Fahrenheit).
9. Ice Cubes
Ever wonder why your ice cubes tend to look rather cloudy when you put them into your glasses? The workaround for that is to boil the water that you plan to put into your ice cubes.
That will help to get all of the impurities in the water out, so that your cubes will look crystal clear. How cool is that?
I got rid of my own microwave several years ago. If you still have one, you're pressed for time in the morning, yet you would still like to have more than a cup of java on your way out of the door, DIY microwave omelet eggs taste pretty darn good. Just scramble a couple of eggs, add the other ingredients that you want and pour everything into a microwave-safe mug. Put it into the microwave on medium for 2-2 ½ minutes and you're good to go. Also, if you're looking for a way to keep your eggs perfectly round in your skillet (maybe for a sandwich or something), slice a couple of onions into some thick rings and place them into a hot pan that already has a bit of oil in it. Then crack your egg inside of the onion. Your egg will be round as the ring is. Perfect.
I actually enjoy making my own guacamole. Problem is, the urge to eat some is pretty random and sometimes, when the craving hits, the avocados that I've bought aren't ripe enough yet. If you can totally relate, you can speed the process up by covering an avocado up in foil and placing it into your 200-degree oven for about an hour. Just make sure that you use it immediately because the "speed up process" does cause avocados to taste slightly different.
Come to think of it, another ripen hack is to pull off the stem of a fresh avocado. If after you do it, the avocado is still green, it's not ripe. If it's brown, it's over-ripened.
One of the most potent natural medicines is garlic. Straight up. A part of the reason is thanks to the 33 different sulfur compounds that it contains. And while a lot of us already know that garlic is a wise thing to eat when we're feeling under the weather, many of us miss out on getting as much of its strength as we should because we're eating it all wrong. See, there's an enzyme in garlic known as allicin that actually gains its power by being exposed to the air. That's why, if you plan on cooking with garlic, it's best that you don't mince it and immediately put it into your pots and pains. Instead, crush or press the pods, let them sit for 10-15 minutes and then put them into your dishes. That way, you'll get more of the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties that garlic has to offer.
Whether it's pork, turkey or my personal favorite beef bacon, here's a hack to keep in mind. If you'd prefer your bacon to appear nice 'n flat like it does in restaurants and on food blogs, opt for baking it instead of frying it. Simply lay your bacon on a baking sheet that's been covered with aluminum foil and set your oven to 350 degrees. In 15-20 minutes, you'll have crispy bacon. Plus, by going this route, you can bake a considerable amount of bacon at one time. Plus, it's healthier which is always a bonus.
I know a lot of us like to look so extra when we're eating sushi (LOL). Here's the thing, though. Chopsticks are actually for classic sushi, not sushi rolls. Rolls we are supposed to eat with our hands. Know what else? Ginger and wasabi are never supposed to be combined with soy sauce. In fact, the actual purpose of ginger is to cleanse your palate. So, eat it first and then enjoy your sushi rolls. Again, with your fingers.
And now, the floss thing. Me? I like to bake. A lot, actually. The only thing that really gives me any anxiety about it is when it comes time to cut a cake (including a cheesecake). Sometimes the knife seems to do more harm than good. If you can totally relate, guess what hack will help you out? Dental floss. Yep, so long as it's unflavored (waxed is helpful, though) and you keep your hand steady the entire time, it can slice through your cake in a way that makes for a much cleaner cut. Hmph. Makes me wonder how many bakeries do this. I might call a couple of 'em up to see. Anyway, enjoy eating the "right" way, sis.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
This Couple Got A Second Chance At Love After A Six-Year Break & 10 Months Later, They Got Married
Have you ever wondered if real love is like a romance novel? For Kai, 50, and Hicham, 46, Bouhmad, it is. Kai, who is an adventurer at heart, meets a stranger who believes she would be a great match for his friend, who happens to be Hicham. They connected on Facebook and, after a few exchanges, decided to meet, and while they had a great first date and continued dating shortly after, adventure was calling, and Kai decided to break it off.
However, six years later, another stranger would bring them together, and they reconnected. We can agree that at this point, they were meant to be, and in ten short months, they got married on Valentine’s Day.
Sounds like something out of a novel, right? xoNecole had the opportunity to chat with the lovely couple about their wedding, reconnecting, and having a second chance at love.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Kai and Hicham on Meeting for the First Time
Kai and Hicham got married on February 14, 2023, in Honolulu, Hawaii in an intimate ceremony, and plan on having a reception in Morocco, Hicham’s home country, later on. One of their wedding guests was the person responsible for their union, Hicham’s friend Karim. Kai reflected on that day when they met.
“I was at a party, and a guy walked in and was like, what’s going on in here? And I was like, well, this is a salon party for the salon that just opened, and they had free food and stuff, and I was like do you want some food?” Kai shares.
When they began talking, Kareem brought up Hicham. “He was like, 'I have a friend that I want to introduce you to if you’re single,' and I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds cool.’ So, he was like, 'Well, I’m gonna send you his Facebook information. If you guys can talk on Facebook and see how you guys like each other.' So, that was six years ago, and we talked, and we got along pretty well, and then we started dating.”
Kai and Hicham Describe Their First Date
Because both of them are into the arts, they decided to go to the movies on their first date. At that time, Loving was in theaters, and according to Kai, she knew when she saw him that she wanted to marry him. “I just had that feeling,” she reveals.
Hicham also recalls their “wonderful” date that extended after the movies at a nearby restaurant. “It was a wonderful moment when we made eye contact,” he says.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Their Breakup and Reconnection
While Kai saw Hicham as her husband, she wasn’t ready to settle down, but Hicham was. So, they decided to go their separate ways, and Kai began traveling the world. But little did she know that six years later, she would see him again. This time, Kai was visiting an art gallery that had just opened up and began talking to the art gallery owner.
“She [art gallery owner] said, ‘I’m having an art opening, the studio just opened, and we’re having a party next week, and you should come, and my boyfriend has a lot of friends, maybe I’ll introduce you to some of his friends,’ and I was like ‘Oh, okay,’ Kai recalls.
“And at this time, I had already booked my ticket to go to Morocco to explore by myself, solo travel. So I said, 'Oh yeah, this will be fun.' This was in April, and my trip to Morocco was just in August. So, I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll come to your little party, I’m there.’ I’m talking, and then she said 'Oh, my boyfriend is here, and here’s one of his friends.' One of his friends was Hicham.”
This happened on April 23, 2022, and they have been together ever since.
When Hicham reappeared in her life, Kai knew she was now ready to settle down. “I honestly got tired of doing stuff by myself. I was tired, everything I have to do by myself, and I just got tired of that,” Kai explains. “I just felt like I really wanted a partner who’s really supportive and generous and kind, and I really wanted a partner that was by my side.
One of the ways that Hicham convinced Kai to give him another shot was when he wore a cactus shirt to her house, which showed the journalist how much he paid attention to her. “I love cactuses ‘cause it reminds me of the desert. It’s bohemian, I love desert cactuses. When he showed up with a cactus shirt on, I just could not resist,” she says. “That sounds cheesy and cliche and might sound silly, but it just symbolized that he knows me deeply and what I love and paid attention to stuff I care about even though it was silly. That meant a lot.”
Not long after, Hicham knew it was time to pop the question. “Kai gave me [an] indication that she was ready, and so that’s how that all happened.” He continues, “dropping hints, and she was pretty much ready, and I proposed to her.”
Kai admits that they planned their engagement together, including ring shopping, engagement photos, etc.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Advice on Finding Love Again
This is both Kai’s and Hicham’s second marriages, and they gave advice on finding love the second time around. They both share the same sentiment about being open and optimistic. Both come from different cultural backgrounds and while that alone could have held them back from pursuing one another, they were open to love.
“Get out of your comfort zone and don’t limit yourself and don’t fear to fail because from failure you learn to build yourself up,” Hicham says.
And at the end of the day, it’s important to establish a friendship first. “Another [piece of] advice, just make sure you like the person,” Kai says, “and that’s really important because you have to make sure even if you have a disagreement or arguments, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do I like this person? And just make sure you really like them.”
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Feature image courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad