Mango Salad

Mango, quinoa, cucumbers, pears, avocados, tomatoes, shaved carrot, slivered almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds

Mango, quinoa, cucumbers, pears, avocados, tomatoes, shaved carrot, slivered almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds

I made a delicious mango salad this week that I had to share.


  • Arugula greens
  • 1/4 cucumber sliced
  • 1 shaved carrot
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • slivered almonds
  • 1/4 pear sliced
  • 1/4 mango sliced
  • sliced avocado
  • pre-cooked quinoa
  • sprinkle of chia and hemp seeds
  • drizzle olive oil & balsamic vinegar to dress the salad

These measurements are for a personal salad. You can add as much or as little of each ingredient. Finding the right balance is really a matter of personal taste. I tend to go light on the fruit because it is really an accent to the salad. A touch of sweet but good.

This is so simple and fast to make. Pack it up for lunch or enjoy it with a nice piece of fish or a grilled chicken for dinner.

*I forgot to mention in my original post that I had included a leftover quinoa meal I had from the night before (kim chi fried rice). If I have leftovers from a meal that would work well into a salad I like tossing that in there to get some added nutrition. In this case I added the grains from the quinoa, kim chi, and the veggies that were in the quinoa. It was a nice touch and kept my salad authentic. You can simply add pre-cooked quinoa to add texture and grains to your salad.


The Lowdown on Mangoes

Here in Miami, I feel like there are mangoes falling from every tree in the city. Everywhere I turn, there are mangoes on the floor, mangoes at the store, mangoes for sale on a street corner, or in a give away bag by those generous mango tree owners.

I happen to LOVE mangoes. They are by far my favorite fruit. Problem is that I’ve always heard that they’re super fattening. They definitely taste sweet enough to feel fattening!!!!

I decided to do some research on the pros and cons of this delicious sweet fruit and this is what I found:

  • About 40% of the fiber in mangoes is soluble, mainly pectin.
  • It is an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of vitamin B6. It also contains a wide variety of carotenoids, including beta carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and other phytonutrients, including quercetin. These substances can protect cells from damage, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and provide other health benefits. Together; these compounds have been known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes is known to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also a very good source of vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals. Vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine is required for GABA hormone production within the brain. It also controls homocystiene levels within the blood, which may otherwise be harmful to blood vessels resulting in CAD, and stroke.
  • According to new research study, mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Several trial studies suggest that polyphenolic anti-oxidant compounds in mango are known to offer protection against breast and colon cancers.
  • Fresh mango is a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
  • It composes moderate amounts of copper. Copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.

In addition to the health benefits, I found that Mangoes score a 51 in the glycemic index but score under a 5 in the glycemic load and are a high carbohydrate food but a low calorie food.

What does this all mean? In my opinion, what it means is that mangoes are a WHOLE FOOD. Exactly the kind of food we should be eating in our diets. We are supposed to have fiber and carbs and vitamins and phytonutrients in our food. Sure they are higher in the glycemic index than berries for example, but that does not mean they need to be avoided.

If you are trying to lose weight and are counting calories, look up the nutrition facts for a mango and take that into account for your daily caloric intake. Otherwise, eat it in moderation like all other whole foods should be eaten. We need carbohydrates and fiber in our diets….mangoes are a great way to get our fill assuming we are not eating excess carbs in addition to the mangoes.

I personally have been eating and feeding my children a couple of mangoes a day. It is a pleasure to enjoy a seasonal, locally grown fruit. I will take full advantage until the season ends! Stay tuned for some mango recipes coming up this week!


Whose fault is it?

My dad and I just came back from the National Speakers Association annual convention. We had a wonderful time and met a lot of fascinating people. I returned home feeling energized, inspired and recharged. Talk about living a healthy lifestyle… there is nothing healthier than feeding your mind and your soul.

During the convention I attended an informational panel in which GJ Hart (California Pizza Kitchen) and Kat Cole (Cinnabon) were interviewed. Kat Cole, the president of Cinnabon, is poised, pretty, well spoken, smart, charming and has a powerful story. It made me mad that a super star like her works for Cinnabon. Imagine if a talented woman like her could grow a healthy restaurant chain!

After the session I just had to question her!!!!

President of Cinnabon

I asked her two questions in which she I confess she gave me great answers. The first question was “How do you stay so skinny eating Cinnabons??” to which her response was that she does eat Cinnabons, but when she’s not treating herself to a Cinnabon,  she eats a very strict healthy diet…fruits and veggies….She claims with her its either totally healthy or totally naughty (Cinnabons) but nothing in between.

My second question was “How do you handle running a company like Cinnabon with  these healthy, anti-sugar movements that are becoming so popular?”

Her response was…. Cinnabon is totally unhealthy. But they are honest. They do not lie about the ingredients. They don’t try to disguise that they are fattening and bad for you. She suggested that many companies try to cater to healthy eaters by disguising their ingredients and being dishonest and that’s where they get into trouble. If you choose to eat Cinnabon, you have chosen to treat yourself to something that is bad. And that’s a choice you can make. She also added that they have created smaller portion sizes for those who wish to take a bite of the cinnabon without a full splurge.

I thought that was a fantastic answer. You see, I believe we all have a choice. I don’t see anything wrong to have an unhealthy treat once in a while if it is something you would truly enjoy. I choose not to eat Cinnabons ever because it is just too much sugar for me. I would prefer to eat something sweet that I would enjoy more and is healthier. But again that is my choice. As long as your diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and good fats…why shouldn’t you splurge from time to time on a sinful Cinnabon???

But Kat’s answer didn’t appease some of my fellow healthy bloggers/authors. My friend Connie Bennett, author of Sugar Shock! was not pleased with this response and this is why. Processed food companies use sugar, salt and fat to addict us. According to Michael Moss, Pullitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, author of Salt Sugar Fat, food scientists use cutting edge technology to calculate the exact quantities of each of these ingredients to hook us and leave us begging for more.
So if that is the case, then maybe my choice argument is not 100% accurate. If we are so addicted to these foods that we can’t stop eating them, do we have a choice? And if we do manage to break the chains of addiction and stay away from these foods, will an occasional Cinnabon bite send us spiraling down the road of addiction making it oh so difficult for us to stay on track???

And even more thought provoking is what our brains experience through this process. Once we cave to this little treat and the addict within us is reactivated, then to deny more puts us in a state of resistance. That state of resistance causes us much stress. Should we live under a state of distress, constantly flexing the will power muscle to stay healthy? Deepak Chopra, in Super Brain, argues that we are not designed to live in a constant state  of resistance and to do so is harmful to our brains and bodies.

Knowing this, are these food companies responsible for our poor food choices? Should they be blamed or do we blame ourselves for caving in to these addictive foods? Do the food companies have a duty to protect us from obesity and disease? Or is this simply a matter of survival of the fittest, every man for himself?

Having explored both sides to this argument I am left confused. I don’t have an exact answer. But one thing I know for sure. Regardless of what the food companies are doing, the best way to keep your ability to choose is through EDUCATION. We need to know what the ingredients are. We need to know what these foods do to our bodies. If we are going to choose, we cannot be ignorant…and if we are, then we never had a choice in the first place.

I would love to know your thoughts about this. Please share.