Culture

21 Delicious And Healthy Takes on Traditional Mexican Foods

Traditional Mexican food is rich with a variety of vegetables and lean proteins, all boasting big flavors! In many ways, it was the Americanization of Mexican food that has made it less healthy. Switching to lean ground poultry, adding beans to ground meat dishes, using less sour cream, or switching to low fat cheese can all add up to make any dish healthier.  Let’s look beyond the tacos and burritos and into the kitchens across the country where it can be easy to find delicious, healthy versions of Mexican favorites…in fact, I bet you won’t have to look too far.

Corn Tortilla

A simple swap, choose the corn tortilla next time you order a taco. This staple food is a whole grain, which packs more fiber and nutrients than its flour counterpart.  At least half our daily grains should be whole grains. This is a tasty way to meet that goal!

Carne Asada

Get your protein grilled, not fried. Grilled steak packs a protein punch with little to no added fat, since it’s cooked on a grill and not sautéed in oil or butter.

Credit: Carne Asada. Pixabay.   9/14/13.

Huitlacoche or Corn Smut

Corn what? This corn fungus, which is very similar to mushroom in flavor,  is considered black gold in some areas of Mexico. When rain droplets fall into the corn husk, the kernels of corn begin to rot and develop a fungus that turns the golden kernels into grey, stone-like blobs. The fungus adds proteins that aren’t found naturally in regular corn kernels. This makes it a great choice in tacos or quesadillas for vegans or vegetarians.

Credit: Quesadilla. Pixabay. 10/23/18.

Fruta

Seemingly so simple but let’s not forget this healthy version of a sweet treat, after all, fruit is twice as sweet in Mexico! Fruit is always a good choice because it is packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Credit: Melon. Pixabay. 6/15/2016.

Arroz rojo

This tasty staple, is simple to make and has all the elements of a comfort food; warm and flavorful. You can make a healthier version by swapping in brown rice for white rice.

Credit: Rice. Pixabay.  10/27/2016.

Mole de olla

This hearty soup is a steaming bowl of comfort (and nutrients!) on a gray day. This soup consists of broth with potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, corn, and other vegetables that suit your taste. Preparing your soup with beef or pork? Trim the visible fat off the meat to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the recipe.

Credit: Chicken stew. Pixabay.  05/16/2016.

Tortilla soup

So much soup! Another bowl of steaming comfort, the chicken is baked, grilled, roasted, or poached making it a lean, low fat choice with a ton of protein! Instead of topping your soup with crumbled fried tortillas try baking your tortillas in the oven until crisp and then crumbling them.

Credit: Chicken soup. Pixabay.  11/27/2013.

Pescado

Another healthy Mexican dish, a whole grilled fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, the kind you get in fish oil supplements ,which are so good for your heart! Grilling the fish means little to no added fat. Using fresh herbs, such as cilantro, and citrus juice, such as lime, make the fish flavorful without any added salt!

Credit: Fish. Pixabay.  11/5/2016.

Pico de gallo

This fresh salsa is a great way to add a healthy boost to any dish. Fresh tomatoes, cilantro, lime, and onions provide flavor, fiber, and antioxidants.  It’s a juicy flavor boost in each bite!

Credit: Pico de gallo. Pixabay. 04/30/2017.

Tomatillo salsa

This vibrant green salsa is rich in vitamin C and vitamin K. It packs a flavorful punch on any fish or taco.

Credit: Salsa. Pixabay. 01/09/2015.

Goat Birria

A tomatillo broth with rich meatiness is another healthy Mexican dish, that will have you asking for seconds. When using goat (or pork) trim the visible fat and use a low sodium broth to make your soup.

Credit: Soup. Pixabay. 04/11/2018.

Carne adobada

Another alternative taco filling, pork or beef is roasted in chilies, garlic, onion, vinegar, and plenty of herbs and spices.  Though packed with flavor, making it at home means it is not packed with sodium.

Credit: Carne. Pixabay. 03/27/2018.

Guacamole

What’s a list without guacamole? This creamy fruit (yes, a fruit!) is a great option when topping a baked chip or taco. Just be mindful – 1/3 of an avocado is the recommended portion.

Credit: Guacamole. Pixabay.  07/08/2014.

Guisada al pollo

Chipotles in adobo are responsible for the flavor punch in this dish. Along with flavor from protein, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, and bell peppers it’s super nutritious without being super salty.

Credit: Chicken stew. Pixabay. 07/10/2012.

Ceviche

Fish is almost always a healthy choice and this is no exception. “Cooked” in citrus fruits and juice, this seafood dish is cured without adding the fat found in fried fish.

Credit: Ceviche. Pixabay. 12/31/2014.

Agua fresca

Homemade agua fresca is going to be a healthier version than store-bought, most of the time. You can add fresh or frozen fruit to your water to add subtle flavor. Try using less  sugar or simple syrup. You can also use agave, Splenda, or another calorie free sweetener to cut down on the amount of added sugars you consume from drinks.

Credit: Agua Fresca. Pixabay. 11/09/2018.

Empanadas

These pocket pies are filled with deliciousness, and when that crust breaks open to reveal a savory sauce or sweet fruit filling, it’s like heaven in your mouth! Baking your empanadas, instead of frying them, will make them a bit more heavenly with a lot less added fat.

Credit: Empanadas. Pixabay.  6/22/2014.

Sopa de poro y papa

This potato leek soup is another delicious dish. When adding the cream or sour cream, try a low fat version or try using plain Greek yogurt. By using plain yogurt, you‘ll be adding protein, calcium, probiotics, and cutting way back on saturated fat!

Credit: Potatoes. Pixabay. 05/26/2018.

Guiso de flor calabaza

This quick stew uses fresh squash blossoms from a summer squash plant.  It’s easy to prepare and quick to devour. Packed with cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber this stew is bright, beautiful, and as healthy as it comes.

Credit: Zucchini blossom. Pixabay. 07/25/2014.

Churros

A sweet treat! Traditionally fried then rolled in cinnamon and sugar, this tasty treat has soared in popularity – and for good reason, it’s delicious! It’s also loaded with added sugars and added fat. To make this treat a bit healthier, try piping your dough on a cookie sheet and baking it, to reduce the added fat.

Credit: Churros. Pixabay. 02/22/2015.

Salsa

Salsas are always a healthy topping for any dish or a great dip choice for baked chips. Salsas usually contain fruit and vegetables, such as tomatoes, tomatillos, mangoes, and even grapes! Some may even occasionally contain avocado, a source of healthy fats!

Credit: Salsa. Pixabay. 08/05/2016.

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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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