Eight Super Foods Mentioned in the Bible

Over 12 years ago, my friend Carla brought 2 tiny fig trees to my new home. After much thought, I planted one right out my back porch in the garden area and one at the bottom of my yard where I knew the rain would help the nutrients flow to my little fig tree. My little fig trees were only 10 inches tall. Last year both of my fig trees were over 7 feet tall and produced hundreds of sweet juicy figs that made their way to my kitchen to be added to my favorite meat dishes and salads… not to mention a delicious snack or dessert all by themselves.  Figs along with 7 other foods are mentioned in the Bible. Let’s see why.

In Deuteronomy 8:8 the Jewish people were promised “a good land . . . a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.” I would like to add clean healthy fish to this list, for Jesus had a miracle with five loaves of bread and two small fish with which he feed the multitude!! The Bible has a lot to say about fish as a staple for supper and we know that several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen.

In the days to come we will discuss the benefits of eating these ancient foods mentioned thousands of years ago. These are foods eaten in Israel and all throughout the Middle East.

Wheat: When I was in Israel, I ate the healthy, freshly-made bread that is was not genetically modified, and I felt so healthy.  However in American, because I have to watch my bread intake, I have been on a Gluten-free diet in order to feel stronger. Stay tuned to more insight on this.

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Barley: High in protein and nutrients including minerals.

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Grapes: High in ORAC resveratrol and vitamins.

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Figs: High in minerals and antioxidants.

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Olive Oil: An ancient health and beauty secret that can be drenched on all your vegetables and meats giving you beautiful hair and skin. It makes a fabulous topical ingredient in moisturizers and hair conditioners. It is rich in Polyphenols which keeps your levels of LDL within healthy ranges. It also reduces your risk of strokes because it increases your levels of plasma oleic acid.

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Honey:  Benefits are anti-bacterial anti-fungal characteristic because the bees add enzymes that making a natural hydrogen peroxide. Honey also increases your athletic performance and energy levels. Many researchers show honey can actually heal physical conditions ranging from cancer to sinus congestion, allergies, and heart disease. The best honey to add to your diet is the one that is harvested locally.

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Fish: makes you feel so much better by increasing your protein intake and adding amazing Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet. The benefits of eating fish include decreased risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, dementia, ADHD; prevention of inflammation; and reduced risk of arthritis, heart attack, and strokes.

Note – Deep fried fish destroys the health benefits – research has shown broiling or baking with Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil is the best way to get all the nutrients and benefits of eating fish. Stores such as Whole Foods and Fresh Markets will verify that their fish is low in mercury and clean and fresh for eating. Enjoy!

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Energizing Foods for Big Beauty Benefits

Leigh Valentine

I knew that embarking on this six week journey to change my life would result in drastic food changes, and one of my favorites so far has been my morning smoothies and protein shakes! Whether its a chocolate protein shake, with half a banana and a handful of delicious berries or my lovely daughter in law makes me a tasty smoothie with greek yogurt, kale and pineapple; not only do I feel a boost of energy but I’m full until lunch!

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These smoothies are high ORAC (Oxygenated Radical Absorption Capacity) foods, that are “off the charts” in antioxidants. And as antioxidants have incredible energy and anti-aging properties, adding them to your diet will only increase your overall health. ORAC’s can be found in foods like pomegranate, pineapple, oranges, blueberries, acai berries and green tea.

I have known about high ORAC foods for years now, and in working with world class chemists to develop my products, was able to create my Firm & Lift serum + cream with higher ORAC levels than anything on the market. These added antioxidants in my serum + cream improve the texture, smoothness and elasticity of your skin!

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Before making this life change, as you know, I was feeling too weary from life to watch my diet; so though I was continuing to use my Firm & Lift serum & cream, I can admit that I was not getting optimal results. But now that I am three weeks into my journey, I see the changes in my skin. Not only is it smoother, but my eyes are brighter, I don’t have bags, and I have an overall more youthful appearance. As Dr. Adam Friedman, the director of dermatologic research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine says “Nutrition plays an important part in limiting the aging process and helping to protect against the damage of UV rays, the number one cause of lines and wrinkles.”

Just for some added tips, here are a few other foods with…

Big Beauty Benefits!

1. Foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids— Fatty Fish such as Salmon and Tuna (albacore) are good choices in your diet to help guard against sun damage!! Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, they protect against sunburn. Other great choices are sardines, mackerel and herring. If for some reason you do not like fish, eat walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and tofu.  

2. Foods rich in Vitamin CFor an extra skin boost, try raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and pomegranate– they not only contain vital antioxidants but also Ellagic acid, which has been found to counter the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin. Remember sun damage causes those deep wrinkles. I love prunes but I never want to look like one!

3. Lean ProteinFor a period of time I was a vegetarian. However, I feel better when I eat healthy lean fish and meat. In the 101 dermatologist’s study, women who had diets low in protein were more prone to wrinkles. Protein is a vital component of any diet because it is the building block for skin collagen and elasticity. Therefore, may I suggest corn fed beef, range-free chickens, fish, eggs, tofu, and protein shakes as good choices for healthy beautiful hair, skin and nails. I grew up in the mid-west and it is hard for me to get away from a grilled T-Bone steak. I mostly eat chicken and fish, but because I fight anemia and low blood sugar, I cant help but indulge in this form of protein that is deliciously high in iron.

#LifeChangeCheckin: How are you doing on your journey? What changes have you made that are working? What’s not working? Let me know on the Leigh Valentine Facebook Page!

I’m Listening.

#WithLoveLeigh

Give Thanks

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Since childhood, I have loved Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. An occasion of pure joy, happiness and love, my entire family would gather at my Grandmother’s house. From cooking together, laughing together, and finally sitting down to eat the delicious turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie; it was and still is one of our favorite times of the year.

As amazing as my thanksgivings always were and continue to be; it is only when I got older that I was able to truly appreciate what made the day so wonderful. The ability to “give thanks” to our creator for the bounty he has blessed both my life and the lives of my family members with, is humbling. And for me, a holiday that is centered around loved ones while eating delicious food, and taking a moment to thank God, is about ‘as good as it gets’ in life!

We all know that Thanksgiving can turn into a bit of a gluttonous affair, so I want to encourage all of you to enjoy, but eat carefully while spending this special time with your family and friends. As you know, right now I am on a strict regimen of lifting weights and cardio, eating only certain foods to drop weight and build muscle. And while it has not been easy, it is about to get even harder because I will not be giving myself a pass on Thanksgiving. So come Thursday, I will be limiting all sugar, breads and gluten. I will be ‘indulging’ in lots of turkey, a variety of vegetables and 1 slice of my special Greek dish, Moussaka! A side I will be making for 60 of my closest family and friends!

Giving thanks, and naming my blessings one by one…

  1. I am so grateful for my beautiful customers from countries all over the world. The support and love I receive from them is worth continuously working hard to perfect my formulas to make them feel better about themselves, exude confidence and seize all the blessings life has to offer.
  2. I have been a single working mom for over 10 years. I have worked hard to ensure that my son would be a good person that loves God, and cares about the world and the people in it. So to watch him grow into this kind of man and more, is one of the greatest blessings in my life. From being at the top of his class in law school, to finding a wonderful woman to marry and make his partner in life, I know that his success is the combination of all my hard work, great friends and family, and of course, God.
  3. I am thankful for my assistant, Sara who keeps me organized so I can do my best.
  4. I thank God everyday for my health and using me as a vessel to create blessings in other peoples lives’.
  5. I am grateful for all my loyal friends that are there for me through both the good and turbulent friends. It’s easy to walk with a friend that is doing well, but when life knocks you down, very few friends will get in the trenches with you. Luckily, I have found my few friends that will jump into the trenches with me.

 With Love,

Leigh

Try the Moussaka…I promise the compliments will just keep coming!

Moussaka

Ingredients

Lamb
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound ground lamb or substitute ground beef
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup grape juice
1 (28-ounce can) plum tomatoes, pureed until smooth with their juices

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Honey, if needed
Eggplant:

1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut crosswise into 14-thick slices
Bechamel Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1 cup grated Romano
1 lemon, zested

Directions
For the lamb: Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Return the lamb to the pan, add the grape juice, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper and honey, if needed. Remove from the heat.

For the eggplant: Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels

For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/moussaka-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-image?oc=linkback

Rediscovering Leigh Valentine Beauty: My Six-Week Journey

unnamed-4(Working towards this!)

    Two weeks ago I woke up, looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person staring back at me. “This is Leigh Valentine?…The woman known for her ageless skincare products, multiple appearances on QVC and infamous infomercials?” I thought to myself.  I looked tired, felt exhausted, and immediately wanted to get back into bed. I know how strange this may sound, as I have been in the health and beauty industry for almost thirty years, but the stress of managing a company, being a mother, taking care of a household and fulfilling my obligations to the various organizations I am apart of, had finally taken a toll on me. I was traveling non-stop, running myself ragged, making poor food choices and leaving nothing at the end of each day for myself. Yet, even still after I made this realization, I had no plan, no course of action, and no idea of how to make a life change.

It has taken new friends coming into my life-who are working with me to relaunch my brand-relying on longtime trusted colleagues and many prayers, to open my mind and heart to change. Finally giving myself the time to think about a healthier course for my life, I have made the decision to lose twenty pounds by radically altering my diet—no gluten and no sugar—and doing something every day to strengthen my body, sharpen my mind and rejuvenate my spirit.

To strengthen my body, I am on a regimen that has me in the gym five times a week, doing cardio and lifting light weights. No Pain, No Gain! I also went to a doctor for a ‘head to toe’ exam, and new blood work. She noticed my estrogen levels were low and believe it or not I had no testosterone! Though testosterone is one of the most important hormones for men; women need small amounts of it for healthy hair, skin and muscle mass. So she immediately put me on a natural Bio-Identical hormone cream with added DHEA to help boost my energy levels. She also instructed me to cut carbohydrates and gluten from my diet, sticking to mainly vegetables and meats to lower my cortisol (indicator of stress) and help me to lose weight faster.

To sharpen my mind, I commit to staying abreast on world events and news. Making the effort to be aware of people and cultures around the world, will only expand my mind and make me a more well rounded person. To rejuvenate my spirit, I am recommitting to putting God first, have added Wednesday night church services to my weekly routine, and will take an extra few minutes to be still in prayer in the mornings. I know this re-commitment will only bring me inner strength, happiness and peace, because I believe that in every battle you will see victory if you put your trust in Him, the creator.

In my heart, I believe that beauty begins from the inside out. So I am embarking on this six-week journey of health, happiness, faith and beauty, to truly rediscover the meaning of “Leigh Valentine Beauty.” Walk with me.

While I am on my journey, I want to hear about one you’re on! Are you in need of a life change? —Interested in embarking on a six-week journey of your own? If so, where would you want to be six weeks from now?  Share your ideas for how you plan to make a life change, and let’s discover new ways to be healthy, strong, and ageless together!

With Love,

Leigh.

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