Good Foods with Bad Raps + Linguine with Clams

Overtime, new studies find that some foods we thought were bad for us are actually more beneficial than harmful, but sometimes it's hard to shake the negative stigma attached to these foods. These 5 foods have been studied extensively, and new research is showing that there are more positive health benefits than negative, and it is encouraged to eat them.

1. Eggs: Eggs were shunned for a long time because of their high amount of cholesterol, but recent research has shown that eggs have no effect on heart disease for those with normal cholesterol levels. Eggs are high in protein and other essential vitamins and are extremely versatile to cook with.

When to avoid: If you're someone who already has high cholesterol, than you should watch your intake of eggs. If you don't have any cholesterol issues, than there's no need to worry, and you can even have more than one egg a day.

2. Avocados: Avocados are a source of good fat that actually help you lose weight. They are filled with vitamins and are good for your skin, and they help you absorb more of the carotenoids in salsas and salads.

When to avoid: Unless you are making it yourself, steer clear of most guacamoles, as many are made with heavy sour creams or oils.

3. Chocolate: Some of the benefits of cocoa: source of antioxidants, cuts down risk of heart disease, helps you lose weight, and boosts mood.

When to avoid: Try to go for dark chocolate 70% or higher to get the full benefits from the cocoa. Milk chocolate is filled with sugar and cream, and that's the kind of chocolate you should limit.

4. Nuts/Coconut: Nuts and coconuts are known for being fatty, but like avocados, the fat in nuts and coconuts is good fat and will help you lose weight. Nuts and coconuts also help your heart and provide you with omega 3s and other important nutrients.

When to avoid: If you're eating something like coconut oil, only get unrefined virgin coconut oil. For nuts, avoid nut butter brands like Jiff's and Skippys because they contain ingredients like hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. Your ingredients should be pure, but for both butters and nuts, enjoy in moderation.

5. Coffee: Recent studies are now showing that coffee lowers your risk of many diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

When to avoid: Those who are prone to nervousness and anxiety should avoid coffee, as it is a stimulant that can exacerbate anxiety. Also avoid specialty drinks that are filled with cream and sugar. 

Healthy Linguine with Clams

I made this dish the other day when I was really stressed out. Although it may seem counterintuitive, cooking when I'm really overwhelmed calms me down. I set out to the grocery store unsure what I wanted to purchase, but I knew I wanted to make something I don't normally cook. I picked up some fresh basil and some sun-dried tomatoes, and then I thought "Why not make a fancy Italian pasta dish?" So, I added some canned clams to my grocery basket and set home to cook my meal.

 This dish came out way better than I expected. In fact, it was probably one of the best pasta dishes I have ever cooked, and I have cooked a lot of pasta before. I posted my picture on Instagram and got a lot of attention for it, so I figured I would post the recipe here. It's a good start for beginners, but it will be sure to impress. 

Whole Grain Linguine (about 1/6 of the box)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 leaves of basil, chopped
1/4 medium onion, chopped
4 large sun-dried tomato pieces, cut smaller
1/2 small can of clams
Olive oil to cook with and to drizzle on top (your discretion, use minimally)
Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste

(and remember, my measurements are always approximate, since I just throw things in when I cook)

1. Start boiling the water for your linguine. In the meantime, chop your garlic, basil, onions and sun-dried tomatoes.

2. Once the water is boiling, put in your pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, heat up a pan with olive oil and sauté all the ingredients except the basil.  Once the onions are almost translucent, toss in the basil.

3. Drain pasta when ready. Add the linguine to the pan with the rest of your ingredients. Add a small amount of olive oil and the clams and toss together. Top with parmesan cheese as desired.