Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Healthy Smoothies and Juices for Kids


       Looking for some good and healthy smoothie recipes?   My friend Amy Roskelley sent me a copy of her book 201 Healthy Smoothies & Juices for Kids.  Her recipes use fresh ingredients and no added sugar.
       I don't have a juicer yet, so I've only tried her yummy smoothies.  I usually make the same 2 smoothies over and over again, so it was nice to get some ideas for something new.  I love to look through recipe books, but my favorite thing about this book is that on each page, below the recipes, are tips to save time or money, advice for getting picky eaters to eat healthy, interesting nutrition facts, and ways to make healthy eating fun for kids.
       If you know me, you're welcome to borrow my copy.  If you don't you can pick one up on Amazon.  You can also check out her website at superhealthykids.com
       I just added a new recipe link to the Healthy Recipes page - Spicy Beans with Coconut Milk.  So tasty.  Thanks to Julie at Salads and Such.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kefir

photo: Keeperofthehome.com

My latest healthy change: adding Kefir to my diet.  Water kefir to be specific.  I ordered the grains online and rehydrated them and I've been growing them for about 3 weeks.  Kefir is a probiotic drink that is loaded with healthy bacteria and yeast strains.  It's good for digestion and strengthening your immune system.  To make water kefir you culture the "grains" in sugar water at room temperature for 24-48 hours, then strain out the grains, flavor and drink it.

My 2 youngest like it mixed with cranberry or orange juice. I've been using it in my smoothies in place of the water or mixed with juice.  I can't handle the taste of it plain, but my husband will drink it straight.  The 3 older kids won't even try it.  (They've had it in smoothies but don't know it.)  I've also cultured the grains in coconut water and that works too.

A couple of sites with good information on Kefir and how to make it:
Yemoos.com 
CulturesForHealth.com 
KeepOfTheHome.com
 I'm still a beginner, so if any of you experienced kefir people have any tips or recipes, please share.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Insuring Health vs. Health Insurance



Regardless of whether we are required to purchase medical insurance, know that we can only buy real health insurance in the produce section of the local supermarket.
Certainly, some aspects of medical insurance coverage are in need of reform.  But a much greater need exists – the need for Americans to reform their health by reforming their diets.   -Dr. Joel Fuhrman

I really believe this!   Type II Diabetes is a life-style disease.  Heart disease is preventable and reversible.  Cancer risk is also largely tied to lifestyle. The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that about one-third of common cancers could be prevented by following a healthy diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Why don't more people do something about it?  Why are Americans so unhealthy?  Are people really so uninformed?
Is it that: 
A)  They think these diseases just happen and there's nothing they can do about it?
B)  They truly don't know what a healthy diet is?
C)  They've decided that it's just too hard to eat healthy food?
D)   All of the above. 

If your answer was A,  You might want to read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell for research on the connection between what we eat and disease.  I found it very interesting and I wondered as I read it why I'd never heard this stuff before!  Another one that's an easier read is the Culprit and the Cure by Steven Aldana.

If you answered B, you should read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat For Health or Eat To Live.  His focus is on eating the most nutrient dense foods possible and he tells you which foods those are.  I also follow his blog diseaseproof.com

If you answered C, there are a bunch of people who blog about following a healthy diet and they have some great recipes.  Some that I follow: are Green Smoothie Girl, My Green Diet, Unconventional Kitchen, Super Healthy Kids, and WHOLEmade.  It's not hard to eat healthy.  It's kind of fun trying new recipes and using new ingredients.  It also makes it easier knowing you're not the only one.  Healthy eating means different things to different people.  I take what I want from these blogs and ignore the rest.  You do what's right for you, right?

If you're answer was D (like mine) you've got a lot of reading to do!
 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Trying something new - Jicama

I tried something new last week.  Jicama.  I had no idea what it would even look like when I went to find it in the produce section. It's not pretty, but in the right recipe, it wasn't bad at all.
I tried this recipe for Jicama Salad With Mango and Dried Blueberries from Section89.com.
picture & recipe from section89.com
 I also ordered Green Smoothie Girl's Twelve Steps to Whole Foods Manual.  I needed something to get me motivated again.  I've been wanting it for a while.  It's working.  I'm back to eating almost 100% good real food.  That 3 pound weight gain I mentioned a few months ago turned into 7 pounds.  But after a week of good eating it's back down to 3 pounds.  When I'm eating right my body naturally drops the weight, I have more energy and I feel so much better.

ps.  If you have any more jicama recipes, send them my way.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Seasoned Popcorn

1 cup popcorn (unpopped) I use organic
2-3 TB  pure extra virgin Coconut Oil, melted
3-4 TB nutritional yeast (I buy this from Winco or Good Earth in bulk)
"healthier" popcorn salt*

1 large paper bag

*to make "healthier" popcorn salt, just blend Real Salt or Himalayan salt into powder in your blender. It sticks to the popcorn so much better.

Pop the popcorn in an air popper 1/2 cup at a time.  Pour it into the paper bag.  Pour in the coconut oil (trying not to get it all over the bag) and sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and popcorn salt.  Shake and serve.

Two years ago I quit eating microwave popcorn. I love popcorn and I missed it, but microwave popcorn contains the chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (linked to liver and prostate cancer) and diacetyl (used as a flavoring agent which  causes the lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans in the popcorn factory workers who breath it.)  I'd rather not eat chemicals on my popcorn.  I started eating it plain which was just, well, plain.  I'm so glad I found this way to make it.  The bag is essential, I've tried it in a bowl and it doesn't work as well.

I've heard that most corn grown in the US is genetically modified, so I buy organic popcorn in bulk at the health food store.  I get the nutritional yeast there too.  Nutritional yeast can be a good source of vitamin B12.

This popcorn doesn't contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils either.  Coconut oil is one of the good fats.  Some people take coconut oil as a supplement


This recipe makes a A LOT of really good popcorn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yellow Daal and Naan - My 1st Attempt at Indian Food

     I tried Indian Food today for the first time tonight.  I made Yellow Daal over rice and some Naan (Indian flatbread) to go with it.  Yellow daal (also spelled dhal) is a thick lentil stew made with yellow split peas.  It was hard to find a recipe with ingredients that I'd heard of, but this one was simple and familiar. I also steamed some veggies just because I knew someone would refuse to eat it and I wanted to have something on the table that everyone would eat.
     I found a Naan recipe online, but it was cooked on a grill.  I didn't want to fire up the grill in the backyard, so I went with the griddle.  They look like pancakes in this picture, but they were actually super good.  Everyone liked the bread.  I really liked the daal and so did my husband and 3 of the kids.  The 2 others we had to promise that if they took one bite, they'd never have to taste Yellow Daal again.  One ended up liking it, the other is too stubborn to admit it even if he did.
Next time I want to try making the naan with whole wheat flour and I'd probably not cook the daal as long or maybe add less water.  It ended up the consistency of mashed potatoes, but the flavor was good.  Not bad for a first try!  The leftovers will make a great lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Benefits of Eating Raw

    
      Raw foods come to us with the living enzymes necessary to facilitate the digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in foods. Cooking kills all enzymes, as well as most vitamins, and alters the minerals and proteins in such a way that they are less usable to the body. Because the cooked food is not accompanied by the enzymes necessary for digestion, it places more of a strain on our digestive system and many of the nutrients that are left after cooking are lost in this process (besides those lost through any refining or processing).

       Raw foods are also the most nutritionally dense, because all of the original vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and fiber are in their unaltered forms and completely available to our bodies. A raw food offers up to three times the nutrition of the same cooked. Since true nutrition is concerned with feeding our cells, it is important to provide them with the living nutrients of raw foods. Life can be sustained on cooked foods, but cells are not replenished and replaced in an optimal way. On raw foods you will find that you eat less, yet your body will operate more efficiently with what you provide.


       Also because raw foods are easily digested, less energy will be expended on the process of digestion and be available to you. Most people who add more raw foods to their diet are surprised by the increase in energy they experience.  (The above article is from Simplynaturalhealth.com)


A couple ways to add raw foods to your diet:
Smoothies-  Green smoothies are best.  Start small by adding just a handful of spinach to your favorite fruit smoothie.  It won't change the color or taste if you use just a handful.
Try putting baby carrots or some other sliced vegetable on the table while the rest of the meal is still cooking.  I've noticed that we will eat more vegetables if there isn't anything else available right then.
Salads or coleslaw are always easy.  I always have the ingredients on hand for a fruit or green salad so I can have a salad for lunch or with dinner most days.

Anyone else out there trying to get more raw foods in?  How do you do it?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Black Beans & Rice w/ Chicken and Apple Salsa

I made this for dinner last night.  I grilled the chicken on my George Foreman for the rest of the family, but I skipped the chicken and put the apple salsa right on top of the beans and rice.  They wouldn't try the apple salsa, so there was plenty left over for my lunch today.  Yummy!
Here's the link to the recipe over at ourbestbites.com.