Culture

15 Quick, Easy, and Healthy Foods to Eat This Winter

These 15 foods are good for your body, and they don’t involve much time in the kitchen. It can be tempting to sit down on the couch, watch tv, and wolf down too much junk food, especially when the weather gets colder.  As Americans, we tend to make poor choices when it comes to what we eat, choosing food that tastes good in the moment but doesn’t have much in the way of nutrition. And type 2 diabetes, a disease tied to poor eating habits, has a disproportionate impact in the Latinx community.1 So here are 15 foods that you should be eating more of – and why.

Bagel with Peanut Butter and Honey

Instagram @blackseedbagels

Just toast a bagel and then spread natural* peanut butter on it. Top it off with a bit of honey. If you like banana, you can slice one up and throw some on the bagel too. Peanut butter is a solid source of protein, and it’s low-carb. It also has vitamins: E, B3, B5, and B6.2 Honey has several types of antioxidants which help your body fight disease. It also contains less sugar per gram than regular sugar. 3

*there should only be one ingredient in your peanut butter – peanuts.

Oatmeal

Pixabay @iha31


Oatmeal can be microwaved as long as you don’t use steel-cut oats. Just put the oats in a bowl, add just enough water to cover them, and microwave for a few minutes. Done. Optional – throw a bit of milk, some agave, and some fruit on top for breakfast (or dinner, no judgement). If you don’t have fresh fruit, you can use frozen, just add it to the oats and water before microwaving. Oatmeal has high levels of several minerals and contains antioxidants. And because it is so filling, it has been linked to weight loss.4

Oranges and Bananas

Pixabay @elljay


It doesn’t get much simpler than this – just peel and eat. Oranges have Vitamin C and antioxidants.5 Bananas have been shown to help with weight loss and help moderate blood sugar levels.6

Spinach Salad

Pixabay @showmeyourflowers


A quick and easy salad – spinach, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and croutons. For dressing, splash on a bit of olive oil and any type of vinegar. Add salt and pepper if desired. Buying prewashed spinach will help save time, otherwise, be sure to rinse thoroughly, as spinach tends to have dirt clinging to it when you bring it home. Vitamins A, B6, B9, C, E, and K1 are all found in spinach. It also is an excellent source of iron, and has antioxidants that have been linked to slowing the aging process of our cells. Finally, it helps with your eyesight and has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Roasted Garlic

Pixabay @remcoosculiflower


Roasted garlic is a gourmet food that is crazy simple to make.  Take the garlic, brush off the outer skin, cut the very top off, dip it in olive oil, place it on tin foil, and throw it in the oven at ~400 degrees.  Take it out about a half hour later, and you’ll have mushy garlic goodness that you can spread on some bread or add to pretty much any vegetable dish. Garlic helps prevent colds, improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and is associated with a longer lifespan.

Vegetable Soup

Instagram @ralphsfarmmarket


Surprisingly easy to make, and super quick if you can buy your veggies pre-chopped. You can literally use whatever vegetables you want. In the winter, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion are all available and a nice place to start. Just combine the vegetables and water in a large pan, bring to a boil and then lower the temp to medium. Cook until the veggies are tender.  If you have any oregano, basil, or chili powder, go ahead and throw some in there. Adding a splash of soy sauce will give it more depth. Carrots have Vitamin A which is beneficial for your eyesight. 9 Celery has numerous antioxidants.10Onions have been linked to a decreased risk in certain cancers.

Lemons or Limes

Pixabay @congerdesign


Tired of plain water? Toss in a bit of lemon or lime juice. You’ll get hydrated plus you’ll have the benefits of citrus. Lemons and limes contain vitamin C, which has been shown to help fight colds. They also contain antioxidants, so they’re an ally against many types of chronic diseases.

Omelette

Pixabay @mhburton


Contrary to popular belief, eggs + vegetables and (a little bit of) cheese is a healthy choice.  Just add the eggs to a lightly buttered or oiled frying pan, throw in some chopped veggies, and heat on medium until cooked.  Add a little bit of cheese on top immediately after cooking. If the cheese doesn’t melt, you’ve got too much on there.  Add some jalapeños for additional nutritious benefits. The egg whites and the yolk are both good for you.  Egg whites are filled with protein. And nutritionists tell us that egg yolks “contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body…”. And eggs do not increase your cholesterol.13 Jalapeños, or any chiles you’d like to use, contain capsaicin, which actually increases the amount of fat your body burns.

Coconut Water

Pixabay @Gadini


Another incredibly easy food to prepare, coconut water is found in young coconuts. Just punch a small hole in a coconut and pour its water into a glass. Or take a reusable straw, push it right into the soft part of the coconut, and drink from there. Coconut water is just as good for you as any sports drink for hydration and replacing your electrolytes.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

pixabay @skeeze


When making mushroom soup, it’s best to have at least 2 types of mushrooms.  Clean them and cut them up.  Then put them in a pot, along with some onions and a bit of oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions soften. Then add soy, almond, or cashew milk. (You can also use cow’s milk, but then you have to be careful not to overheat it). Continue cooking on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and you’re done. There are many benefits to eating mushrooms.  They contain antioxidants, B vitamins, copper, potassium, and beta glucan. Beta-glucan reduces your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, improves cholesterol, and benefits your heart.

Broccoli with Lemon

Instagram @dietistensval

Take some broccoli and toss it in lemon juice, then heat in a lightly oiled frying pan for a few minutes on medium heat. That’s it. Broccoli has vitamins A, B9, C, and K. It also has sulforaphane, which has been tied to slowing down the aging process.

Stir Fry

pixabay @caramiagudelis0


Veggies + Oil + Skillet = Stir Fry.  Again, buying pre-cut veggies will save you time here but either way, it’s simple to prepare. Just toss the vegetables in a pan that is lightly coated with oil. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat – until veggies are tender. Like the vegetable soup, what vegetables you use are completely up to you – pretty much any combo works but get some bok choy in there if you can.  Some other ideas are bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, green beans, and onion. The reason you want bok choy is because it contains phytonutrients, which are tied to a reduction in risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Avocado Toast

Pixabay @tommileew


There’s a reason why avocado toast has been a favorite these last few years – it’s good for you and takes less than 5 minutes to make. Peel an avocado and spread it on whole grain toast*.  Commence eating.  The avocado has a lot of potassium which acts as an electrolyte. Electrolytes keep your fluids in balance, and your nervous system in proper working order.

*If possible, do not use white bread as it has little nutritional value and is high in sugar.

Fruit & Yogurt Bowl

Pixabay @shnomoe


Put about a cup of plain Greek yogurt in a bowl, throw some berries on top, and add a dash of sweetener for a healthy fruit-based yogurt. By making it yourself, you avoid the preservatives and unhealthy sweeteners commonly found in single-serving packages of yogurt. Berries are low calorie, contain antioxidants, and have been linked to prevention of several types of cancer.20 Greek yogurt has a lot of protein and very few carbs or fats. It also has calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth. Greek yogurt also helps keep your stomach on point, is associated with weight loss, and helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Hot Chocolate

Instagram @ketowithcherryl


Congratulations, you made it to the end of the list! As your reward, here’s a type of food that you probably thought was terrible for you, but is actually really good for you. Dark chocolate. To make hot chocolate, drop a tablespoon of cocoa powder (found in the baking aisle) into a mug, add milk, and microwave.  Once it is heated up, stir and the cocoa will dissolve. At this point, you can add a sweetener like stevia if you’d like.  If you have any flavorings like vanilla, almond, or cinnamon, those can all be tasty additions as well. Chocolate contains tons of different antioxidants, lowers your risk of heart disease, and can help with memory problems.22 And while this version of hot chocolate isn’t Abuelita™, it is definitely abuela-approved.  

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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