Top 5 Food Items to Include in Your Shopping Cart

You are what you eat. You've probably heard this line a million times. But still it rings with so much truth. Food is our main source of fuel. What you consume will ultimately affect the quality of work your body will produce, as well as your overall energy levels. It's not just about appearance. If you want to feel better on the inside, do your body a favor and eat smarter.

Here are my top 5 must haves when going food shopping. Of course this list can go on and on, but these 5 are my stars. If you're just starting your transition to healthy eating, here's a quick and easy list to add to your cart.  

1. Apple Cider Vinegar
I swear by this. A tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and raw honey mixed in water is my go to pick-me-upper every morning. Loaded with the good stuff: potassium, healthy enzymes, amino acids and armed with antibiotic properties. This cocktail of healthy is sure to gear you up for the day. ACV is also my #1 weapon when combating a bug. When I feel something coming up, I chug down a glass in the morning and before going to bed, to aid the body's repair systems. Works every time.

2. Broccoli
Ultimately my favorite super-food. Packed with vitamins A, B1, B6, E, potassium, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, and so much more! This green gulay is sure to give you a bang for the buck. I usually have it blanched. Don't boil it, keep most of its nutrients intact (cooking strips off nutrients from food, make sure you eat raw every once in a while) Boil the water first and dump two hand-fulls in the pot. Watch the color of the flower, once it turns a deeper green, take it out and drain it. This usually happens around 5 - 10 seconds from the moment you drop it in. I like mine still with a little bit of crunch. I sometimes use the water from the stock to make warm apple cider whenever I'm up for it. 

3. Eggs
I have two a day and I eat the yolks. Soft boiled eggs are my favorite, when I have to pack them for the day, I have them hard boiled. Salt and pepper to season if you want, but usually I just have them on their own. This humble protein source is good for you. It's what I always have post workout. Eggs, chocolate milk and a banana. Best combination ever. You can tell if an egg is good by the color of the yolk. The closer to orange, the better, the more nutrient loaded -- you usually get this from free range eggs. Happy chickens make happy eggs! 

4. Oats
A great source of fiber. Ditch the instant oatmeal, you're trading nutrients for time. Get the traditional rolled oats instead. My favorite way to have them is toasted. I stick a cup-full, thinly spread on a non greased baking pan in the oven. Leave it for 7-10 minutes or until they turn light brown, at 350 F. They come out warm, nutty and crunchy. Kind of how like cereals are, but a little more coarse. I top it with a teaspoon of muscuvado and have the milk separate in a glass. You can also mix it with fruit, or use it as topping for yogurt.

5. Kamote (Sweet Potato)
Cheap, delicious and good for you! My pick is the peach kind. It's so versatile! Boil them, and stick a fork in to check if it's ready. Once your fork goes through with ease, drain and eat however way you want. I have it as a carb source for long lasting energy, on days when I have a lot of classes to teach. For lunch or dinner, I pair it with chicken, instead of the usual black rice when I have more time at home. As a breakfast option, slice it halfway through and stuff with your choice of breakfast meat, mushrooms or vegetables, and stick it in the oven. Have it together with soft boiled eggs for a filling meal to start the day. If you're feeling indulgent, top it with half a teaspoon of butter and enjoy. For snack options, treat it the same way you would a potato. You can mash it or air-fry thinly cut strips to make sweet potato fries! An excellent source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and E. 

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In all honest truth, my rule on food is pretty simple. The more "real" it is the better. A healthy lifestyle is a combination of both exercise and proper diet. But of course a little indulgence once in a while will not hurt. ;)