White sugar

white and brown sugar

It’s been 2 months since I stopped eating white sugar. For me is a miracle. I am the person who eats 1 box of chocolate every day or 2-3 pieces of a chocolate cake. Why I stopped? Because I start feeling so bad.

We need sugar, but consuming white sugar in excess is so bad for us. So now, I take my sugar from fruits and I am feeling so good now, lots of energy to play around with my boy.

Naturally occurring sugar—which gives fruit, some veggies, and milk their sweet taste—is perfectly healthy. It is added sugar that we need to not OD on.

It’s not just sugary foods like candy and cookies either, but sugar has made its way into practically EVERYTHING we eat.

When you consume sugar, your body has two options on how to deal with it:

  • Burn it for energy.
  • Convert to fat and store it in your fat cells.

Depending on your genetic predisposition, your body might be better equipped to process sugar as energy, or you might be more likely to store it as fat.

Effects of Consuming Too Much Sugar:

  • It overloads and damages your liver
  • It affects your insulin and leptin signaling.
  • It causes metabolic dysfunction.
  • It increases your uric acid levels.

10 Ways Sugar Harms Your Health

  • Increases stress.
  • Increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Causes blood glucose to spike and plummet.
  • Affects behavior and cognition in children.
  • Can cause gum disease, which can lead to heart disease.
  • Causes tooth decay.
  • Accelerates aging.
  • A high-sugar diet often results in chromium deficiency.
  • Interferes with immune function.
  • Is highly addictive (6 more times than cocaine)

 

 

Lactarius deliciosus – simply divine

Lactarius deliciosus

They are definitely delicious, like the name. They are one of my favorite wild mushrooms. Is an autumn species best sought in pine forests, where it sometimes occurs in large groups, especially where is very humid. They need lots of rain.

Lactarius deliciosus

They have a bright orange color and when you cut them have an orange liquid. I love their smell. They are commonly known as the saffron milk cap and red pine mushroom.

I am not an expert in mushrooms. I know just a few of them and everything I tell you is about the one I know. When I go in the forest and teach my son about wild mushrooms I only take home the ones I am 100% sure. My son eats only a bit to get use to the taste and texture.

I love them marinated or with salt on a cooking wood stove.

Lactarius deliciosus

To marinate them, you need a lots of mushrooms, but if you have just a few (I had 4 and another 4 mushrooms) you can cook them with salt. It is so simple and they taste amazing.

Lactarius deliciosus

Clean and cut the mushrooms. Make a fire in the wood stove and wait to have a good temperature. On top of the woodstove put a layer of salt. On top of it spread the mushrooms. Wait till they are done and then turn them over.  You will notice this amazing smell when you cook them.

Eat them with garlic sauce.  Enjoy!

Lactarius deliciosus

 

Thank you

whisky bottle

This post is about you. All of you out there. Thank you for reading my blog, for being part of my story and my ride in the blog community. I tried to thank you individually, but if I managed to not answer please forgive me. I read all your comments because you are my inspiration. All of you. We are building this blog together as a family.

Thank you for all the awards nominations. I am honored and happy. You are all in my heart and my mind. Even I never met most of you, I feel like we always drink coffee together (or tea) in the morning and talk about life, food, blogging and photography.

So let’s enjoy a good wine in a good company and “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

 

Wonders of the forest

forest wild mushrooms

I love spending time with my family in the nature. You have clean air, organic food just in front of you and you do sports.

I am teaching my 4 years old son about forest, hills, wild berries and wild mushrooms. With wild mushrooms will be a long teaching process. He needs to learn to identify the edible ones from the non-edible ones, and that takes time and practice.

When we are in the forest I show him different types of flowers, bugs, moss, trees, butterflies and others. We learn to respect and take care of our forests.  My parents taught me about wild mushrooms a long time ago and now is time to teach my son or anyone who wants to learn.

I always enjoyed collecting wild mushrooms. I took my son when he was 6 months old and he loved the experience. Now I go in the forest with my son, my big camera with my macro lens and take photos of all the mushrooms I see, edible or not. We have also 2 baskets that keep our mushrooms whole and some recipients for wild berries.

You need to learn about mushrooms in the forest, not on the internet. You need to smell them, touch them and look at them from all the angles.

Toxic mushrooms

There are some rules when you go collecting mushrooms:

  • If you are not sure about a mushroom don’t take it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you decide to take it, because you have a person home who knows better, put it in a different basket.
  • You don’t get sick from touching a toxic mushrooms, so you can touch it, but be careful not to touch your eyes or mouth.
  • Smell the mushrooms. The edible ones have a distinct smell. Toxic ones tend to have a powerful smell.
  • If you found snails on a mushroom then is an edible one. This is only for the mushrooms you know there are edible but you are not so sure.(I ate and I am still eating mushrooms with snails or worms inside. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. It’s not a must.)
  • Buy a regional filed guide to learn what mushrooms grow wild near you, check a botanical atlas or internet or ask a person who knows about mushrooms.
  • Pick only whole, firm and fresh mushrooms.

Don’t eat them raw. Boiled them once or twice and change the water every time. Just to be safe. If you eat them for the first time could be difficult to digest or you could be allergic to them. If they have worms put them for 1 hour in the water. The worms will come out. (This is because of rain.)

I am 100% sure about a few mushrooms and are the only ones that I collect. I know some are edible, but I never tried them. Still there is time. Each country or region of the country have different mushrooms, so you need to be aware of that.

Those are the ones that I always collect:

  • Boletus edulis
  • Chanterelle
  • Gyromitra esculenta
  • Armillaria mellea
  • Clavulinaceae
  • Clavariaceae
  • Russula
  • Lactarius deterrimus
  • Lactarius deliciosus
  • Suillus tomentosus

wild edible mushrooms

Artichoke

artichoke recipes

Artichoke is one of the popular flower bud of Mediterranean origin in the winter.

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, using it as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant.

Artichokes can be found throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, but they are less frequently encountered in Asian nations.

The edible part of the artichokes is buds that form within the flower head, before it fully blooms. One of the most sought after parts of the thistle is the “heart and it is often considered a delicacy, and is typically more expensive.

Artichokes are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but are a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, B12, A, E, D and vitamin K. Artichokes also provide calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

In the store, choose fresh artichokes that feel heavy for their size and without any cuts or bruise. Its leaves should be compact (appose tightly together), should feature dark green and squeak slightly when squeezed. Avoid very large, tough globes as they are unappetizing.

The globes best used while they are fresh. However, they can keep well if stored inside the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag for up to a week.

Health Benefits

  • Artichoke contains a number of vital antioxidants and phytonutrients, such as quercetin, rutin, gallic acid, and cynarinwhich fight against cancer.
  • Artichoke reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • The high concentration of cynarin in artichokes can contribute to aiding in digestive health.
  • Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, a powerful liver protectant.
  • Artichoke is helping the body to detox itself of waste, extra cholesterol, sugar and toxins, plus fiber acts to facilitate liver function and to make us feel full after eating.
  • The high amount of fiber found in artichokes has the ability to help keep blood sugar levels stable, avoiding spikes and dips in insulin that can lead to serious problems for diabetics.
  • A one cup serving of artichokes provides about 10% of the average person’s daily requirement for iron.
  • Artichoke is a perfect hangover cure, and some people choose to chew on a few artichoke leaves after a night of heavy drinking.
  • The minerals in artichokes are essential parts of increasing bone health and density, thereby reducing the chances of conditions like osteoporosis.

Some people are allergic to artichokes, so be careful. An artichoke diet should be used as a preventative method for liver and gallbladder disease, not a cure. Finally, it does make people urinate more frequently, so if you already suffer from an overactive bladder, artichokes could make that minor condition even worse.

 

 

Smartphone, compact camera or DSLR?

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Being a food blogger is not very difficult. You prepare a recipe, take photos of the food and uploaded on the blog, but if the photos are not very good most people will not spend time to read the recipe.

You need very good food photos. Most of the food bloggers have a phone with a good camera or a compact camera, and, some, have DSLRs.

A modern smartphone has a lot of apps for better photos without a lot of effort. A smartphone does take very good photos in very good light, but, anything less than ideal outdoor lighting conditions, an expensive DSLR with great lenses can produce amazing photos. Add some post-processing and you will get some stunning images that will be nearly impossible to pull out of a smartphone.

You need to know what you want from your blog. If you want amazing photos like the ones in commercials, you will need to have an expensive camera with great lenses.

There is a universal truth: the bigger the image sensor, the better the image. A bigger sensor will capture more detail with wider dynamic range (the detail in dark and light areas), offer superior low-light performance, and focus more sharply on moving objects. With very small exceptions, all the phone cameras have a small sensor.

Controlling the zoom is an invaluable tool for composition and a way to capture a remote subject for all photographers.

Almost all compact cameras have a minimum 3x optical zoom, but so called ‘travel compacts or superzooms’ can go as high as 30x, offering the photographer a huge amount of creative control.

Compact cameras are also better at shooting close-ups – many have Macro modes that can shoot from 1cm away.

Smartphones tend to run out of power by the end of a day, but compact cameras can typically take between 300 and 500 photographs per charge.

If you are a more serious photographer who wants to experiment with shutter and aperture and develop your photography skills, it is worth buying a compact camera, particularly with manual control and a versatile lens.

If you are the kind of person who simply wants to take photographs and share them digitally a smartphone is for you.

If you already got a nice compact camera but got tired of it you may want to upgrade to a DSLR.  Once you buy a DSLR you will buy a more than a camera. You will buy lenses, change your camera body every few years, buy filters, tripod, a small studio, etc. In time, you will invest a lot of money in your gear so you need to make money from your photography. (This is my way of thinking).

But the photos from a DSRL are just the best. With a DSRL and a decent knowledge of its features, you can create different effects that can bring a location to life, you can enhance a portrait or food.

The battery is great. You can take so many photos that you forget to recharge it. Interchangeable lenses give you more option (macro, tele, wide), the image has great quality, you have more options for shooting in low light situations, better dynamic range and color accuracy,  faster shutter speed for shooting action or sports and other great advantages.

But before changing your gear see if you can improve your photos from another point of view (Tips for beginners), because photography is more than a camera.

If you already know all this and you want more from your camera (every camera has a limit), then you will think about upgrade. So go from a camera phone to a compact camera or an entry level DSRL. Read lots of camera reviews. People will explain the cons and pros of each camera. Check their blogs to see why they have problems. Maybe is not the camera is the blogger. Study, because you will make an investment in your future.

There are no bad cameras. Cameras differ in how well-suited they are to the types of photos you like to take and how easy they are to use. So you need to see which camera is best for what you’re trying to accomplish and how much money you are willing to invest.

Make small steps and less expensive. If you have a compact camera and buy a DSLR, keep the compact as a backup camera. You never know when you might need a really light and small camera.

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