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Archive for March, 2019

07
Mar

How to Cook the Perfect Pasta for Any Occasion

It may look simple in cooking videos, but there’s a little more to cooking pasta than you think – once you get the pasta in the water, it’s all about making sure that you get the perfect bite. Not too soft, and not too crunchy, but just the right firmness inside every strand.

Here’s how you can cook the perfect pasta every time:

1. Use a large pot.

No, don’t break the pasta strands to solve your problem! What you need is a big pot with enough room for the pasta to move around, and this is when the stockpot in your kitchen really comes in handy.

You should also get a lot of water in the stockpot and actually let it boil first before adding the pasta in. Not doing so will result in undercooked strands of pasta.

2. Salt the water beforehand.

Starch tastes best when given a generous hint of salt, and you want at least a tablespoon of it in the water. Once the water is salted and brought to a boil, only then can you start adding the pasta.

3. Don’t stop stirring!

Don’t take your eyes off that pasta for even a minute – you need to keep stirring the pasta every now and then to keep the strands from clumping. Once the strands have softened after placing it in the boiling water, turn them gently to allow the rest to boil in the stockpot.

4. Test for two minutes.

The cooking time on the packaging isn’t gospel. After about two minutes, check if the pasta is done by fishing out a single strand using your utensil of choice. Let it cool, and then bite.

Ideally, your pasta strand should be springy and chewy, and yet still firm on the inside. This is called “al dente”. If you’re not confident, you’re better off having pasta that’s just past the point of being raw.

5. Save that pasta water!

Once you’ve cooked the pasta to your liking, save a single cup of that pasta water before draining it into a colander.

This starchy water works amazingly well when it comes to binding the sauce and the pasta together, and if you happen to have a thick pasta sauce, this will break it down to make it less likely to clump at the bottom.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add the sauce. Don’t rinse the pasta with cold water – this will only wash away the starches that lets the sauce bind to them!

If you’re worried about adding too much or too little pasta sauce, the trick is to keep it separate and add only a little at a time for every serving.

Add toppings, serve, and enjoy!

07
Mar

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Have the Perfect Cheat Meal

When it comes to weight loss or intensive exercise routines, there’s nothing quite like that first bite of your favorite greasy food after a long week of vegetables and lean meats.

This amount of leeway can work wonders for getting into shape. But while the cheat meal is great for keeping your goals in sight, you can easily throw yourself off track when you’re not careful.

Here’s how you can get the best cheat meal you can while still on your way to being healthy:

  1. Plan it well

What makes a cheat meal work is the fact that it’s planned between rigorous workouts and dieting regimens – not only does it trick your body into continuing to burn weight, but it also motivates you to keep going.

Ideally, they should be in line with other people’s schedules when they’re not busy for lunch or dinner, as cheat meals feel even more rewarding when you factor in the social aspect of food.

  • Don’t go on a cheat meal when you’re starving

Don’t starve yourself of your weekly caloric intake just to get to your cheat day – doing so only makes it so that you’ll throw your whole regimen off course, since it’s harder for you to control yourself when you haven’t eaten properly for a while.

What you do need to go along with your cheat day would be the following:

  • It limits your body’s insulin response. The higher the insulin response, the more sugar in your body is converted to fat.
  • Opening your muscles. Contracting muscles requires energy, which helps to burn the extra that you gained on your cheat meal.
  • Emptying your stomach quickly. Limiting your digestion time gets the junk out as quickly as possible while ensuring that the least amount of fat goes into your body.
  • Add caffeine and cinnamon with your cheat meals

Cinnamon is known to lower the body’s insulin response, which means less sugar in your body is converted into fat. It also takes longer to digest and makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Caffeine in your cheat meals is also great since it works as a laxative, helping food pass through your digestive system more easily.

  • Get a few rounds of exercise in

While it’s great that you get these extra calories in your system, you also need to spend the extra time to burn them off. Doing 90 seconds of bodyweight exercises ninety minutes after your cheat meal is a great way to do this.

Some great exercises for this include air squats, wall presses, or even chest pulls, as these are the ones most likely to divert the calories into your muscles instead of being stored as fat.