Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tacos and Chili

I made tacos last night.  That means tonight is chili - with the leftover taco meat.  And we always have leftover taco meat because our grass fed beef is packaged in 2 lb sections.  Who really eats 2 pounds of hamburger in one meal?  Not us.
So, I made tacos.  Since I'm eating hardly any meat these days, I filled my corn tortillas with garbanzo beans heated with a little water and taco seasoning instead of beef.  The rest of the family ate theirs with beef, but they snacked on the rest of my garbanzo beans.  So that's progress.
Tonight though, I will be eating meat.  I'm making chili and corn bread.  Sometimes I hesitate to post recipes because people come here looking for healthy recipes right?  And sugar is not healthy. There is sugar in my corn bread. There's butter in there too.  But remember the 80/20 rule?  I eat healthy food most of the time and that works for me.  So if you're looking for 100%, this is not the blog for you.
Here's the chili I'm making tonight:

Crockpot Chili  -or Slow Cooker Chili if you want to be politically correct
2-3 stalks celery chopped
1 carrot chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 lb ground beef (optional)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin
1 large clove garlic
2  (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 or 2 cans* diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 or 2 cans* of beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern and Black Eye Peas)
1 cup water
1 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
A little salt and pepper

*When I make this for my family of 7, I do 2 cans each of beans and tomatoes.  Otherwise, just go with 1 can.

Fry up the beef, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. (If you're using leftover taco meat, or omitting beef altogether, then stir-fry the vegetables and seasonings.)  Pour into slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.  Cook on high at least 3-4 hours.  Or on low for longer.

And, if you feel like making some really good Corn Bread.  Try this recipe, but substitute whole wheat flour for the white.  It's my favorite.

Friday, December 9, 2011

E-book Winner!

Congratulations Tarynn!  You're the winner of the Good and Easy Eats e-book.  Please send me your E-mail address at GoodrealfoodBlog at gmail dot com.  (If I don't hear from Tarynn by Sunday night, I'll pick another winner.)

If you didn't win and would like to purchase Good and Easy Eats, you can buy it here for only $4.99.  It will also be available on Amazon.com in the next couple weeks as a Kindle book.

Monday, December 5, 2011

e-book Giveaway: Good and Easy Eats

It's give away time!  Good and Easy Eats, an e-book by Kim Wilson, is a collection of simple, family pleasing recipes that are actually good for you.  I chose a few recipes to try this week: Potato Corn Chowder, Seasoned Popcorn, Carmel Corn, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Meltaways, and Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I also followed her instruction on how to cook beans from dry to put in my chili.  It's true, I've never cooked beans before.  I never even liked beans until this year, so I needed instructions on how to cook them.

The Seasoned Popcorn was delicious.  That one will be a favorite for Friday movie nights at our house.  The best recipe I tried was the Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  I didn't think it was possible to make a cookies without sugar or eggs and have them turn out good.  I hesitated to try them because I didn't want to waste my honey on a batch I'd be throwing away, but they were delicious!  I'll make them again and again.

Good and Easy Eats is not just a recipe book. It is filled with helpful information on stocking a basic pantry, menu planning, making the transition to wholesome foods, how to decide what to buy organic, baking tips, salad making tips, how to cook beans from dry and other useful information.  There are also links throughout the book for more ideas and recipes.  For those of you who avoid wheat, all of Kim's recipes are gluten free, but she gives you an alternative if you don't have gluten issues.

If you would like to enter to win a free copy of the e-book Good and Easy Eats by Kim Wilson, please leave me a comment.  One winner will be announced on December 9th. The e-book will be available for purchase on December 10th.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quinoa. It's What's For Lunch

Mexican Quinoa Salad from mygreendiet.com

My lunch was good today, so I thought I'd share it. It's Mexican Quinoa Salad from Mygreendiet.com.  You can find the recipe here.  I followed her recipe, except that I used regular tomatoes, cut down the cumin, and then I added a cup of frozen corn. Next time I think I'll add some red wine vinegar or something.  I'm not a fan of cumin, so when I cut that down it needed a little something else. If you like my Cowboy Caviar recipe, you'll like this salad.

I want to try some more quinoa recipes, so if you have any favorites, send them my way please.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good and Easy Eats giveaway coming soon!

I'm excited to be hosting a giveaway next week.  I just received my pre-release copy of "Good and Easy Eats" by Kim Wilson. It looks so good!  If you're just adding some healthier dishes into your regular menu or if you're completely avoiding all processed foods, I think you'll like this book.

I appreciate that all of Kim's recipes use normal ingredients.  In other "healthy" recipe books I've read, I find that I don't know what some of the ingredients even are, let alone where to buy them!  Kim's recipes use common ingredients to make meals that are nutritious and taste good.

I also like that it's not just recipes.  It's a guide to healthier eating.   I'll be trying a few more of her recipes this week.  Then I'll be giving away a copy to a Good Real Food reader.  Check back on December 5th to enter!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's Wrong With People??!

I wish someone could explain to me why people get so bothered when someone chooses to eat differently than they do.

I buy my 100% whole wheat bread at a bakery outlet. I've been going there maybe twice a month for more than a year. They lady who works there has always been polite and sometimes even friendly. Lately I've been bringing my 4 year old Grace with me.  She's always made it a point to talk to her and last month she gave Grace a small package of expired Zingers.  It bothered me that she didn't ask my permission to give it to her. When we got in the car we talked about healthy food and "sometimes" food.  I said "Do Zingers and donuts make our bodies strong and healthy?"  We talked about that, but the thing that made the biggest impression on Grace was the lady's stained crooked teeth.  She made the connection in her mind that treats from the bakery outlet make your teeth brown and rotten.

And just so you know, we'd already been to the credit union and the pharmacy that morning and they'd given her suckers at both places.  I know they're just trying to be nice.

The next time we went to the bakery outlet, the lady offered her some donuts.  Grace politely said "No, thank you."  And the lady was saying "It's ok! You can have them.  You can eat them later!"  Grace again said "No thank you". I was so proud :)  Then the lady said "Why!?"  And Grace said "I want to be healthy."  The lady did not handle it well. It was weird.  Like she'd been personally offended.  (side note: I should be grateful she didn't say anything about the teeth!)

So this week when we went the lady was smug and snotty.  She didn't say a word to Grace or even look at her. When she rang up my purchases said in a real snotty voice "Do you want a Ding Dong?", holding out 2 of them in her hand.  She didn't even look up.  It was so rude!

This kind of thing from strangers is one thing, but sometimes I get it worse from people who are supposed to be my friends.  It's not like I go around making comments on what everyone else eats.  I eat the way I want to and teach my kids what I know and hope one day that it will catch on. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Healthy Fudge

       Each time I go to the health food store I've been buying a few things to try. Lately I've tried Larabars, coconut butter, lentils, chopped dates, almond milk, collard greens, carob powder and beets.  All things I've never eaten in my life!

       The collard greens, chopped dates, almond milk and beets went in various smoothies.  The lentils were for this yummy Sloppy Joe recipe. The coconut butter and the carob powder (along with some other things) all went into this tasty fudge.  I'm having so much fun finding new things that I like and that my family likes as well.
If you want to try something tasty and good for you, try this healthy fudge recipe.  That said, Fudge is not a vegetable.  Show some restraint.

 Healthy Fudge Recipe

2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups if you cook your own beans)
1/2 cup coconut butter or coconut spread (I used Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread)
1/2 cup plus 2 TB honey
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup carob powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped cashews

Put everything but the cashews into a food processor and process until smooth.  (I don't have a food processor, so I used my BlendTec blender to mash up the beans and then I scooped them into my Kitchen Aid mixer to combine.)

Stir in the cashews.  Spread into a 8x8 pan and refrigerate for one hour.
Cut into pieces.

If you're not going to eat it all within a few days. (And I hope you don't!) Then wrap fudge pieces in freezer wrap and store individually in freezer. 
Guaranteed to satisfy a chocolate craving!
Find the  original recipe and more healthy recipes here at simplynaturalhealth.com.

A little something about coconut oil: 
Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight.  It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzyme systems. Further, it increases the body's metabolism by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Green Smoothie Girl

        Last week I attended a free class by the Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw.  I thought it was good info.  I'm already in the Green Smoothie habit, but she inspired me to try some different greens in my smoothie.  This week I added kale.  It's going to take some getting used to!  But today I threw a golden kiwi into my regular recipe and it was really good.
        I also purchased her children's book "The Adventures of Junk Food Dude".  It's a cute book to use to teach your kids about eating good real food.  Maybe there's a free Green Smoothie Girl class near you.  Click on the link then the "events" tab to find out.

       You could also win a free BlendTec Blender and some other fun things at her class. 
        Happy Blog Anniversary to me.  My first post on this blog was one year ago today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Breakfast Quinoa

Instead of my usual fruit and steel cut oats for breakfast, I tried fruit and quinoa.  I'd made the quinoa for dinner the night before, so all I did was heat it up and add fruit, cinnamon and some local raw honey.   I'd definitely do it again next time I have leftover quinoa.  After I took the photo I decided it needed raisins.  Which made it just about perfect!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stats and the Winner of the Peppermint Oil

        Thanks to all 3 people who entered the giveaway.  :) Thank you for your recipes.  I will try them all.

Here's what I've learned from my stats:
1-  Even though only 3 people commented, I've had 1300 hits to my blog in the last month. 
2-  Almost all of those hits came from people searching for information (not followers).
3-  I thought that a giveaway would help me know who my readers are, maybe I'd get to know a few more bloggers and get a few healthy recipes in the process.  Obviously that didn't happen.  Whoever you are, thank you for reading my blog.  I will keep posting because it keeps me motivated and focused on my health and I hope I can help someone else in the process.

Congratulations to Chelle - winner of the Peppermint Essential oil!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaching Kids About Healthy Eating

       Last Sunday the lesson for the kids was all about what we should put into our bodies.  The teacher would hold up a picture of something (for example, carrots or a cigarette) and the kids had to decide whether it was good or bad for our bodies.   Carrots and cigarettes were easy enough.  But when she held up the pictures of chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese, there was definitely some confusion among the kids and even the adults.
       This Sunday lesson got me thinking how greatly opinions vary on what healthy food is.  Some of the more common things I've heard people disagree over: artificial sweeteners, sugar vs HFCS, dairy, meat and preservatives.

       Some families might consider baked potato chips, cottage cheese or packaged granola bars as health foods.  I admit that a couple years ago, I ate them thinking I was doing something healthy.  I will still buy them for my children OCCASIONALLY if they want them.  I try to teach them why certain things are better choices and show them by example and then hope that they will choose wisely for themselves as they get older. 

       My kids have a wonderful preschool teacher.  She teaches a lesson on healthy eating.  She gives the children a paper plate and some pictures of different foods cut from magazines.  The kids get to paste the pictures on the front of the plate if they're "Healthy Foods" and on the back if they are "Sometimes Foods".  They really enjoy this activity and talk about healthy food and sometimes food for weeks after.  I only wish they'd remember it when they get to Jr. High!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Entitlement Trap

       Remember when I posted about the Power of Mom's Retreat I attended in Park City with my mom and sisters?  Well, 2 of the presenters were parenting experts and authors Linda and Richard Eyre.  They have a new book coming out called The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership.

       If you pre-order the book and send them your receipt, you'll have a chance to win tickets to their couples retreat or dinner for two in Park City or some other great prizes.  If you pre-order, the book is $11.80 rather than $18. I've already ordered my copy!  If you're interested here is where you can get more info.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peppermint Essential Oil

       It's give away time!  I'm giving away one 5 ml bottle of doTERRA Peppermint Oil.  I use peppermint oil for tension headaches, for a relaxing bath, or diluted with fractionated coconut oil to cool my kids fevers. 

Some other uses for peppermint oil:
* Inhale as a non-stimulant pick-me-up on long drives (or runs!)
* Rub on stomach or feet, or take one drop internally to calm an upset stomach.
* Add to shampoo or conditioner for a stimulating scalp massage.
* Diffuse into the air or use topically to open sinuses and airways.

Here's how to enter:
       My Healthy Recipes Page is short on recipes.  Please share with me one of your favorite healthy recipes.  You  can either leave me the link, or type the recipe in the comment section of this post.  Limit two entries per person.  I'll draw a winner on Friday, Aug 26th.    (Then I get to try all your recipes before I add them to my Healthy Recipes Page.)

Thanks and Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Benefits of Essential Oils

             Essential oils are natural compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. If you squeeze the peel of a ripe orange, the fragrant residue on your hand is full of essential oils. Essential oils don't just give plants their distinctive smells, they also provide plants with protection against predators and disease.
       I've been using essential oils for a year and a half.  At first I was curious, but very skeptical. I'm now a strong believer in the benefits of essential oils. Now I'll reach for my oils before anything else in the medicine cabinet.  Instead of ibuprofen I'll use peppermint for headaches.  Lavender calms bug bites.  I use a drop of lemon in my orange juice for a couple days when I feel a cold coming on.  I also use different oils for muscle pain, stress relief, relaxation,  gallbladder pain, and croup. I even use an oil as an insect repellent in place of commercial chemical ones.  No DEET here!  I just feel better about using oils.

       Essential oils are absorbed directly through the skin into the blood stream for an immediate effect.  They are safe and side-effect free.  That said, you still need to do your research.  Some oils can irritate the skin if used full strength. They have to be diluted with another oil like coconut oil.  Not all oils can be taken internally either.  Make sure that the oils you use are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.  I love that essential oils are natural and I can use them to help my family and I'm really excited to learn more.

       I've been wanting to do a give away on my blog for a while, so I've decided to do an essential oil give away.  Check back on Friday if you want to enter.

       To learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils click here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Eating Fruits and Vegetables Doesn't Satisfy Me

Eat For Health Food Pyramid
       Have you noticed that if you eat a meal of only fruits and vegetables (and even if you eat a ton of them) you don’t feel satisfied? 
         I learned why this week.  It's because you are used to eating large quantities of high-calorie foods that cause a dopamine rush, a rush that low-calorie foods don’t deliver.  The good news is that your body adjusts and becomes less dependent on the dopamine surge to the brain.  Over time your body will become more satisfied with fewer calories.

      That said, be careful you don’t starve yourself!  Are you eating enough?  You can eat A LOT of vegetables for the same number of calories in a Big Mac.  At first, I found it helpful to track my calories because I was worried that I might not be eating enough with this change in my diet.  I didn’t want my body to go into starvation mode and start hanging onto the fat!  I used the tracker on Prevention.com which not only tracked my calories, but also told me which vitamins and nutrients I was lacking.  This helped a ton.

       Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the trick to get you to desiring fewer calories faster is to eat lots of high volume, high nutrient foods.  These include:

RAW VEGETABLES:  green lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, cukes, and spinach.  (Dr. Fuhrman recommends that half your vegetables be eaten raw.)
MOST FRESH FRUITS: oranges, grapefruits, apples, kiwis, berries and melons.
COOKED GREEN VEGETABLES: Brussels sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, string beans and bok choy.
OTHER NON-GREEN VEGETABLES: mushrooms, cauliflower and spaghetti squash.

       My focus this week is going to be on raw vegetables.  Half of my veggies will be raw.  (See Dr. Fuhrman's Pyramid above.) It should be easy because I love salads and green smoothies in the summer.  I’ve been adding a carrot to my usual Green Smoothie, which doesn’t change the taste at all.  What do you put in yours? Send me your smoothie recipes.  I’m feeling brave.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What Percentage of Your Diet is Fruits and Vegetables?

  The Standard American Diet consists of:
* 42% Dairy and Animal Products
* 51% Refined and Processed Foods and only
* 7%  Fruits and Vegetables!

       No wonder so many people are dying of heart disease, cancer, immune diseases and diabetes!  It makes me crazy to see people eating themselves to death!  If you’re serious about being healthy you need to do more than just add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.  These foods must be the main focus of the diet itself!

        At least half your plate should be phyto-chemical rich fruits and vegetables.  Make sure to add some beans and healthy grains.  And only then is it ok to add in animal products or an occasional sugary treat.

         I watched a show on DFH last week called Half Ton Dad. Holy Cow! I couldn't look away. That guy was eating 30,000 calories a day.  You watch those shows and you walk away either feeling inspired to be healthy or pretty good about your lazy self, because hey, at least I'm not that guy. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

What Eating Healthy Looks Like

Have you seen the USDA's new MyPlate that replaced the Food Pyramid?  I got a kick out of this version.
Found it here.

       I'm excited to be back on track and in control of my eating and exercise habits.  I'll be sharing more about real food and why you should be eating it.  I'm reading some interesting stuff about the benefits of eating raw food that I'll be posting soon.

       If you're looking for a plate to teach your kids (or to remind yourself of) what eating healthy looks like, I still recommend Amy's plate.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sacrifice to be Healthy

     Prioritize, Plan and Sacrifice.  That’s what it takes to get healthy. And, since it’s my blog and I can do what I want, I’m going to skip right to Sacrifice.

     If you want to be healthy you’re going to have to make some changes.  You have to be willing to give up a few things.  Maybe you’ll give up sleeping in or Diet Pepsi.  Maybe you’ll give up desserts or an hour of computer time.

     I gave up Coke.  I gave up junk food.  I sacrificed time & money to join the gym.

     I also gave up feeling fat, tired and frustrated.  I gave up size 10 jeans.  (I sent a whole box of them to charity.)  I gave up feeling bad about myself.  It feels good!

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lessons Learned: It's All About Control

I've gotten out of my routine!  When I don't have a routine I feel out of control.  I've been lazy with my workouts and lax with my eating and I've gained 3 pounds.  But I've learned a few lessons.  Sometimes I have to learn them more than once.

Lessons (re)Learned

1- When I'm eating good real food it's easy to keep eating good real food.  But when I start eating junk, I crave it.  My 13 year old makes delicious chocolate chip cookies and when he does I have no control.  And it all spirals from there. On the cookie day I also went for the Eclair dessert and the licorice.  Not good.

2- When I get up early and exercise, I care more about what I eat.  On the days when I sleep in, I feel out of control and like I'm trying to catch up all day. I love being up early to workout before the day gets hot.  It's just that I don't remember that I love it when the alarm goes off at 6:45.

3- If I plan my meals, (dinner especially) I feel in control and good about myself.  This means I need to plan ahead and shop for healthy meals.  I also need to have a plan for busy days when there's not a lot of time to prepare dinner. Read more about control over at TrainerMomma.com today.

4- I've also re-discovered Exercise TV. And now that it's "On Demand" I can do any workout at any time.  Today I did Pilates, Latin Dance and Butt Bible.  I had to mute the sound on that last one because she says ridiculous thing through the whole workout like "Treat your butt like royalty","We gotta make love to the butt." And "I have a super strong love for the butt." Really, she said that.  Annoying, but it was a great workout.

I feel like I'm back on track now.  I'm eating smoothies, salads and raw vegetables and I'm back on track with my workouts.  3 lbs to go!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Greek Chicken & Spinach Rice

I found this recipe in today's newspaper and it sounded healthy and delicious.  And it was! It could be a main or a side dish, depending on how much chicken you use.  I used less chicken and more mushrooms. Delicious!  Or skip the chicken completely for a vegetarian dish. 

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  8 oz pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced (original called for only 1 cup)
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
1 cup quick-cooking brown rice, uncooked
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (optional)
1 cup plus 2 TB chicken broth, low sodium
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB Feta cheese (You can leave this out too if you're avoiding animal protein)
2 TB slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook until tender, 3-5 more minutes.

Stir in frozen spinach. Cook until thawed and moisture evaporates. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Stir in dry rice, oregano and pepper.

Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining teaspoon of oil. Add chicken and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until chicken is done.  Add chicken to casserole and stir. Pour chicken broth over top.

Cover and bake 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with lemon juice, feta cheese and almonds.  Bake uncovered 10 minutes more.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5K 2011

Well, we did it!  I was having a dilemma the night before, thinking I shouldn't have signed up my 6 year old.  I was worried he would give up.  I really wanted him to have a positive experience.  Also, my mom self was struggling against my competitive self.  I really wanted to beat my time from last year and I didn't want to get impatient with him.  I decided the night before that being his mom was more important than beating my time.  And I felt good about it.

The first mile, he stayed about 5 steps ahead of me.  The second mile he started to fall behind and we slowed down a little.  I kept encouraging him and he never stopped running.  He also never said a word.  He was in the zone!  My sister was waiting at the 3rd mile.  She held his hand and ran with him all the way to the finish line.  I was so proud of him for finishing.  He even won first place in his division.

Of course, my older kids all finished before me.  My 8 year old placed first in her division.  (She does every year).  The rest of us each took 5th place in ours.  Even though I was running slower that second mile, I still beat my time from last year by 47 seconds.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gallstones Rock

      My gallbladder hates the month of April.  Or April hates my gallbladder. I’m not sure which.  You see, our annual 5K is Friday and I’m a little nervous.  I had big plans of training this year and not getting beat (as badly) by my children.

      But April came around and I quit running.  It’s hard to run when you can’t take a deep breath and it feels like someone’s sitting on your chest.  No, it’s not a heart attack. It’s my gallbladder.  This happened last April too, right before the 5K.  I went to the doctor and had an ultrasound which showed a few stones. I even consulted with a surgeon. He told me that 80% of people have gallstones and don’t even know it.  He said I shouldn’t have surgery unless it was really bothering me. By the time I met with the surgeon it wasn’t bothering me.  And since I would prefer to keep all my organs, I let it go.  I'd decided I was miraculously healed.

      3 weeks ago it came back to torture me for 2 weeks.  Now I’m pain free.  But here it is, time again for the 5K and I’m not prepared. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How much should a salad weigh?

      My salad weighed a pound today.  In Phase 2 of Eat For Health, Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating a pound of fruit and a pound of vegetables daily.
       Today's salad was a spinach and lettuce salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, feta and walnuts.  I was full after I ate it, so I waited to make the rest of my lunch, which was a 2 egg veggie omelet with 2 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, chopped tomato & a tiny bit of grated cheese.  I forgot to weigh it because the missionaries came to the door right then.  But if I add in the apple and blueberries I had with breakfast, & the half banana snack, I know I've had at least 2 lbs of fruits and vegetables today.  And I'll have more with dinner. 

       As always, dinner is my challenge.  I have 6 other people to please. Nearly impossible! But I keep trying and every once in a while I get lucky.  Tonight will be spaghetti, french bread, steamed vegetables, carrot sticks and salad.  I'm thinking ice cream with strawberries on top for dessert.  (I'll probably pass on the ice-cream and do a green smoothie.)

       In some future post I think I'll take the time to weigh all my fruits and veggies in a day.  It could be over 3 pounds. That sounds like a lot of produce!

       Does anyone else eat this much produce or am I a freak of nature?  Don't answer that.  OK, do, but be kind.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm A Nicer Mom When I Exercise

I’m a nicer mom when I exercise.

I’m a nicer mom when I eat right.

        I believe that most moms (or people) don’t feel guilty about what they’re doing, they feel guilty about what they aren’t doing- that they think they should be doing. Which is probably why I’m a nicer mom, and wife, and person when I take the time to eat good healthy food and exercise. It just takes some of the stress away. Even if it’s just going on a walk. If I am feeling healthy, it’s easier to be patient, to serve others, and I feel ready to get things done.  Which is a mom’s job, right?

      This doesn’t only apply to exercise.  It applies to all aspects of our lives. We need balance in all areas.

      Last week I went to a Power of Moms retreat in Park City, UT.  It’s a day and a half retreat, kind of like a business conference for moms.  We learned about organization, creating margins in our lives, how to find joy in motherhood, the importance of creating family traditions, and about taking care of yourself.  I went with my four sisters and my mom.  I'm so excited to be back home and to apply the things that I learned.

      If that sounds like something you might like, there’s another retreat coming up in May.  Here’s the link.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Need More Phytochemicals ~ And So Do You

photo courtesy diseaseproof.com

I've been reading a lot about the Standard American Diet (the S.A.D.) - That 85% of us will die of heart disease, cancer or diabetes. - That our children's generation will be the first generation who won't outlive their parents. - And that we are causing this by what we're eating.  Does this freak anyone else out?  Or is it just me?

Don't you think it's time we look at what's wrong with the way we eat and do something about it?

We already know that most of the food out there is high in calories, but low in nutrients.  We're hungry so we grab something to eat.  If that food doesn't give our bodies the nutrients we need, we aren't satisfied and we eat more food.  The cycle continues.  We end up eating way too many calories and we still haven't satisfied our need for nutrients.

Waste products build up in our cells when we eat foods that lack antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals.  Without nutrients, our cells don't function normally.  Our bodies can't remove normal cellular waste. Our poor diets lay the groundwork for obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases that will eventually kill us.  The crazy thing is that this is something we can change!

"When consistently consumed in adequate quantity and variety, phytochemicals become super-nutrients in your body.  (Phytochemicals  are plant compounds that have a huge effect on human cell function and the immune system.) 
They work together to detoxify cancer-causing compounds, deactivate free-radicals, protect against radiation damage, and enable DNA repair mechanisms.  When altered or broken strands of DNA are repaired, it can prevent cancer from developing later in life."  (Dr. Joel Fuhrman in Eat For Health)

So how do we get these phytochemicals?  We eat lots of good real food like green vegetables, berries and seeds.  Dr. Fuhrman recommends setting a goal of eating at least 3 fresh fruits with your breakfast. I do this by having an apple, blueberries, strawberries and raisins in my oats every morning. When I'm eating a lot of good food I naturally tend to eat less of the bad.  It makes me happy to eat this way knowing that I'm treating my body right and strengthening my immune system.  I've also noticed that my tastes and cravings have truly changed.  When I've just had a huge delicious spinach strawberry salad and a smoothie, I have no desire for a donut or a Coke.

Over the last few weeks I've been a little lazy about feeding myself and my family good food, so I'm rereading "Eat For Health".  It motivates me and gets me back on track. My kids and I will be running a 5K in a couple weeks, so I'm going to need all the help I can get just to keep up with them.  My kindergartner will be running it for his first time.  It should be fun!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where's The Beef?

There is no question that the health of the body affects the spirit, or the Lord would never have revealed the Word of Wisdom. ….To a great extent, we are physically what we eat. Most of us are acquainted with some of the prohibitions of the Word of Wisdom, such as no tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcohol. But what needs additional emphasis are the positive aspects—the need for vegetables, fruits, and grain, particularly wheat. We need a generation of people who eat in a healthier manner.      –Ezra Taft Benson

I’ve mentioned before that one of the books which inspired me to get healthy was Mormon Wisdom and Health by Kenneth E. Johnson MD. 

Dr. Johnson begins by giving a history of The Word of Wisdom.  He writes about the medical knowledge of the day and how diseases were treated.  Let’s just say that I wouldn’t want to have any major medical procedures done in 1833.  He then goes into the medical research that backs up the principles given in the Word of Wisdom. Something that really stands out to me is verse 14:

“All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life,..”

Would you agree that “staff of life” sounds like grain must be kind of important?  This is one reason I’m going to keep eating good complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread, steel cut oats, brown and wild rice and others, despite the current trend away from carbohydrates.    

While studying the LDS (Mormon) Word of Wisdom I found that some of the Mormon prophets in fairly recent times ate meat only on rare occasions.  I think a lot of us have the idea that meat is to be eaten “in moderation” (meaning “within reasonable limits) when in fact the Word of Wisdom tells us that it is “to be used sparingly” or “only in times of famine” (verses 12 & 13).

According to Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language (which would have been the current usage at the time the revelation was given), sparingly means: not abundantly, frugally, abstinently, or seldom.  I had to look at my meals and decide if “sparingly” would describe how often I ate meat.  It didn’t.  Not because I love meat, but because I didn’t know what to make for dinner if it wasn’t centered around hamburger, chicken or steak.

Did we cut out meat completely? No. Instead, I made things like Veggie Stir-Fry with a little chicken, bean based dishes, spaghetti with (a few) meatballs, vegetable soups with a little leftover roast thrown in, Cashew Pasta Bake, Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, or breakfast foods for dinner ie: whole wheat pancakes or waffles, eggs  and hash browns.

We do have roast occasionally, but there are plenty of potatoes, carrots, onions, whole wheat rolls and a salad to go with it. An occasional roast or turkey in the crock pot is a lifesaver on Sundays.  When we have beef, we prefer grass-fed beef.  But that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, Dr. Johnson's book and several other books on health that I’ve read, recommend a plant based diet for optimum health.  It was hard to change something that is so ingrained in us and so much a part of our culture.  But it has definitely been worth it.

Tell me what you think.  Have you tried eating meat sparingly?  Any favorite dinners you could recommend?  Because coming up with something good for dinner is one of my least favorite things to think about.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do You Have to Eat More to Get Full on Good Real Food?

A question from GRF reader Michelle:

Do you find that you have to eat more to get full when you're eating 'good real' food?  
Sometimes I find myself making a relatively healthy meal and then adding stuff like Stove Top as a filler. Maybe I just need to add another vegetable instead.

Answer: No and Yes

No, I do not find myself eating more calories.  But Yes, definitely I am eating a lot more vegetables than what I used to think was a normal serving. 

For example, a salad to me was a small bowl with some iceberg lettuce and a few tomato wedges and shredded carrots.  Who would want to eat that with all that other stuff on my plate to choose from?  When I say salad now, I mean a LARGE salad.  I’m talking, get out the Tupperware and fill it up with spinach, lettuce, berries, nuts, and cheese or meat or beans for protein.

Brett, my husband, said to me last week. “You know, that used to be a salad for the whole family.” Now I make two big salads- one is for the rest of the family to share and one is all mine. (I promise I'm not being selfish, I'd make theirs bigger if they'd actually eat it.)  If my meal is going to be just a salad, I make sure it has some protein in it to keep me full (chicken, beans, cheese, nuts) or I'll eat it with a large slice of whole wheat bread or Cowboy Caviar.  I look forward to my salad.  Getting hungry just typing this!

While planning and preparing dinner I have to chop a lot more vegetables than I used to.  I make enough to fill half our plates with vegetables, so we can easily eat an entire head of cauliflower at dinner.  I have found though, that my family will eat more vegetables if there is a variety instead of just one type.  You know, because they’ll serve themselves some of each.  So that’s a good strategy for getting more veggies in.

Instead of Stove Top, you could try some wild rice pilaf (Winco has some in bulk that you make with a can of broth), a baked sweet potato, whole wheat rolls, something with beans like Cowboy Caviar, or just add another vegetable like you said, or a fruit. It’s a good idea to have both raw and steamed veggies on the menu, even if you just add carrot sticks or cut up some apples.  Keep it simple!

Other posts you might find helpful: Which Lettuce is Healthiest?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Made the Difference? Nutrition.

photo courtesy: vitalityskills.com

Here is my food journal from a random Sunday in December 2008.  It may not look like it, but I was trying desperately to lose weight!

Not looking forward to the Monday Weigh In. I'm afraid it will be over 150 lbs.
Food Journal:
2 shredded wheat biscuits w/skim milk
1 whole wheat toast w/butter
1 small hot chocolate (skim)

1 small baked potato w/butter, low-fat sour cream

a 2-3 oz piece turkey breast (made it in the crockpot)
1/3 cup broccoli and cauliflower
1/3 cup spinach w/ tiny bit dressing to dip it in
1 cup skim milk

1 bowl Honey Bunches of Oats
1 1/2 clementine oranges
microwaved 1/3 cup plain popcorn, w/butter buds and a little parmesan. I was tempted to have coke with this, but then I remembered the weigh in coming up!
1/2 cup cran raspberry juice

It wasn’t working for me. Why not?  I should have been losing weight.  I was eating fewer calories then than I am now.

I was exercising:  I walked 3 miles six days a week (at 4 mph).  I was burning calories.  But I was not losing weight!

It wasn’t until I started nourishing my body that I saw results.  This was not a healthy way of eating! A small potato and less than a cup of green vegetables for the whole day? 1 ½ Clementine oranges for my fruit?  I was only looking at fat grams and calories in vs. calories out.  Until I understood what good real food is, I didn’t change.

As soon as I started eating a lot more fresh vegetables, especially green ones, more fruit, more water and less processed food I started to feel so much better.  If you’re struggling I know you don’t want to hear how easy it was, but at times I wondered if it was too good to be true: How could the weight be coming off so easily?  I’m feeling so good about my efforts but what if I’m actually wasting away from some deadly disease.  I really did think that a couple times. But it turns out I'm healthy.  I just had a hard time believing after all these years of trying to lose weight, I had finally figured out what worked for me!  When I started giving it what it needed, my body was more than happy to just let go of those extra pounds.

I still had my days or weeks where the scale didn’t budge, or it actually went up a couple pounds even though I was doing everything right. But this wasn’t a big deal because I wasn’t focused on the scale.  Instead I was trying to see how healthily I could eat each day.  That’s what made the difference.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Healthy Tasty Lunches

What to eat for lunch!  My favorite lunches are leftovers or something quick & easy!
Here are some of my lunches this week:

My new favorite salad.  Thank you to my sister Jacque for this recipe! I am a huge fan of Zupas, but it's not cheap or convenient for me to eat there daily.  This has been my lunch for the last 3 days.  The dressing is Maple Grove Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette.  I fill a LARGE bowl with spinach, lettuce, strawberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, goat cheese and Emerald Glazed Almonds.  (Never tasted goat cheese until this week.) Just as tasty as Zupas Nuts About Berries salad.  I'm giving you links so you can see what I used, but I found everything at Walmart.
Egg Veggie Wrap.  This lunch was easy and yummy.  Scramble two eggs.  Steam some broccoli and asparagus.  Wrap them up in a whole wheat tortilla or Flat Out Wrap with a little grated cheddar and some Parmesan cheese. You definitely need the cheeses for flavor. Microwave it for 20 seconds just to melt the cheese and you're done. 
Bean and Guac Tacos.  I hesitated to put this picture up because it's not pretty.  But it's good.  I used refried beans, leftover rice and guacamole on whole wheat tortillas.  Then I added green leaf lettuce and ate it with my favorite green smoothie.
Chicken Veggie Stir Fry over Brown Rice.  Leftovers! Whenever I make this for dinner I look forward to lunch the next day.

I'm always looking for healthy quick lunch ideas.  What's your favorite healthy lunch?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Today is a beautiful day! I reached my goal weight this morning.
I weighed in at 124.8 lbs. This calls for a photo.
I believe the last time I weighed 125 lbs was about 1987.  I'm feeling pretty good about that.
Go me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yes, I Ate It All

This was lunch today.  Leftover Cashew Pasta Bake (minus the cashews because they mysteriously disappeared from my pantry), 2 cups steamed veggies and 2 Green Leaf Lettuce leaves.
The only problem was that it was so huge it got cold before I could eat it all.
I'll be having a Green Smoothie and some hummus and flat bread for a snack today.
I missed breakfast because by the time I got home from the gym, library, grocery store and credit union, it was 11am.  So I made this ginormous lunch.
Dinner will be this Crock Pot Broccoli Chicken over brown rice with extra veggies.
And I definitely will be having a couple of these for dessert!  Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies from Trainer Momma. I made them last night because I was feeling adventurous and my kids loved them. Even my 10 year old (aka: "Pickiest Eater Ever Born") ate them, but only because he doesn't know what's in them.

Sometimes I Hate Running

 Today was one of those days when I hate running.  Especially on a treadmill.  I dreaded it before I even got out of bed, but I knew I would do it anyway.  I look forward to Zumba days.  I love dancing.  Running? Not so much. Some days it's easy. But on days like today while I'm on that treadmill I have to trick myself into running.  I talk to myself the whole time. Here's how the conversation goes on those days:

It's only the first song. It's always hard during the first song.  I'll feel good by the second song.
Feeling good.  I can do this. I'm 1/8 of the way through.  I only have to do what I've just done 7 more times.
Only 5 more songs to go.  I can run for 5 more songs.
At least run for another half mile, then maybe I'll walk.
I did another half mile, now go 3 more minutes.
I gotta get my mind off of this. I'll try not to look at the display for a while.
Oh good, I didn't look at the display for 2 tenths of a mile.
125 pounds!  125 pounds! 125 pounds!
5 more minutes.  5 more minutes, then I can quit.
People run marathons all the time. I can do another quarter mile.
2 more minutes. 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds.  
Whew! That wasn't so bad. (now that I'm done)
And so it goes.

I REALLY wish I could Zumba every day because sometimes I hate running. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gym Just Got Really Crowded

This is the time of year when all the treadmills are taken at the gym and the Zumba classes are filled with new bodies.

Two years ago I was one of those bodies.  155+ lbs and ready to try (again) to slim down.  I look at all the new faces there and I wonder how many of them will still be coming in March.  It seems like that's when the treadmills start to free up.  Those New Year's Resolutions to "lose some weight" are forgotten.

Some days I want all these new people to just go home because I've been waiting for a treadmill for 10 minutes and I'd really like to get my workout in before I have to pick kids up from preschool and kindergarten.  But we won't talk about those days.

Instead let's talk about the days I wish I could encourage them and say "I did it and so can you!  Just keep coming. Don't give up!  You're going to feel great a year from now!"

But I don't say anything to them. 
Because then they'd think I was some crazy woman at the gym, and they'd stop coming.
And the treadmills would be free again.
Hey, I think I may be on to something.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blackberry Giveaway!! - closed

Amy over at SuperHealthyKids.com is giving away 2 Blackberry Phones.  Super Healthy Kids is a great resource for finding healthy foods that your kids will love.  So please visit her website, but don't enter the giveaway because I really really want to win it!! ;)  Just kidding.  Sort of.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation!