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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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