Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby Step, Eggs

An easy, almost painless thing that you can do for this baby step is to locate and purchase some organic, farm raised, free range chicken eggs(if your family eats eggs). These are the BEST eggs! They smell better, taste better and look better!

Check out and/or You can search for a local grass fed farmer in your area!

Yes, they are more expensive. But, they carry a powerhouse of nutrition that your dead, white, store bought eggs do not have. Plus, you are supporting a local farmer. How cool is that?  Local farmers are the heart and soul of being healthy. And, you are supporting the healthy treatment of livestock and the integrity of our food supply!
So, what makes these eggs soooooo much better and totally worth the extra cash and (probably) the drive to get them?

These eggs have 4 to 6 times more Vitamin D
These eggs have 1/2 the cholesterol
These eggs have 2 times the Vitamin E
These eggs have up to 6 times more Beta Carotene
and 4 times more Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These eggs have up to 40% more Vitamin A
They are free of arsenic(added to factory feed to reduce infections)
They are free of antibiotic residue

This is a small thing that you can do that will help your family as well as many other families.

Be daring! Try something new today!

Healthy, natural sweeteners

There are some very healthy sweeteners that most everyone in the health food arena would agree on. I am going to talk about a few of them and how they can be used with the disclaimer that easing yourself off of any sweeteners is ultimately the healthiest choice.

The most obvious two are #1 honey and #2 maple syrup. Most people automatically think of these two when they think of healthy sweetener.
Did you know that you can use both of these to replace sugar in most recipes? You do need to account for the extra liquid in the recipe and you don't use as much. but, there are websites that tell you the substitution amounts and how to do it.
Maple syrup gives a nice rich flavor to the dish and honey lightens and brightens.
Affordability? These are both fairly expensive but they do give some added nutrition to whatever they are used in.
The big draw back to both of these sweeteners is how quickly they are converted into energy and spike the blood sugar. This is measured by the glycemic index.
There are many different types of honey. Floral honey has the lowest glycemic index; like locust honey GI 32. Commercial honey like clover honey is much higher at 69.
Pure maple syrup has a GI of 54. But, make sure you read labels as most maple syrups are blended with corn syrup or other things to bring the cost down. Pancake syrup and breakfast syrup are not maple syrup at all!

Anything over a GI of 55 is considered to be not a low glycemic food. So, both of these are on the higher end and should be used in moderation.

I haven't seen a lot of store made items that are sweetened with these two things. As I said, they are fairly costly. But, read labels! I bet you can find them somewhere other than Honey Nut Cheerios or Maple shredded wheat. LOL. Look at your health food store!

Be daring! Try something new today!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Healthy Food book recommendations?

If you have any recommendations for me on some books about healthy eating or lifestyles, please let me know. I am leading a book discussion group at a local health store and  your input would be appreciated.
We are starting with the book, Clean Food by Terry Walters.
Then we will do, Nourishing Traditions, and Sugar Blues.

Sugar is not a health food

Sugar is not a health food and you should avoid it at all costs. Look at your ingredients list. Even organic foods contain sugar!
Sugar is worse for you than eating nothing. It takes away from your body vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.
Any sweetener is better than sugar.

Change of heart

It's been a long time since I have posted anything. With the end of the school year and the fact that we got a puppy, I just haven't had the time!
I have been thinking about writing every day though. And, I have something nagging at me that I must post.

I have had a change of heart about nutrasweet/aspartame. I may delete the entire previous post. You see, I have done some research into sugar and its effects on us. Because there is so much evidence that sugar is actually worse for you than any other edible substance, I must fix what I said.

In many studies, scientists are finding that eating sugar is worse than eating nothing at all. On a deserted island, you could live for 2 months eating nothing but having water to drink. However, if all you had was sugar and water, you would be almost dead in 9 days. 9 DAYS! Sugar along with processed white flour are the great anti-nutrients. Meaning, they REMOVE nutrients FROM your body as you digest them.

True, sugar has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners, but, at what cost?

True, aspartame has been linked to numerous health issues, but is it the lesser of two evils? I think it is.

Aspartame does not raise or spike your blood sugar, which means that your body can maintain a more even blood sugar level all day. It also means it has a low glycemic index number and it does not feed yeast/candida infections.

All of these things combined together lead me to this conclusion: Avoid sugar at all costs. Sugar is not a health food. Sugar is slowly killing you. Switch to other sweeteners that you like and that don't upset your digestive system. Aspartame may be bad for you, but sugar is the worst.

Ultimately, it would be best to wean ourselves from sweetened things so we can enjoy the natural tastes of foods, especially fruits. Limit the amount of sweets you are getting and that you are giving your family, whether they are sweetened artificially or naturally.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Camp Food for 100, part 1

I just returned home from an overnight trip to a YMCA camp with our school's 7th graders. It was freezing but I bet the kids had a blast!
Unfortunately, the food(if you can call it that), left ALOT to be desired. I am challenging myself to replace what they served as food, with real, healthy food that would be similar in cost to what they probably spent.
I am going to list what was served and then show a "better" alternative and then a "best" alternative. The better list will probably be mostly expensive, but already made foods like what they served us. I think this will be helpful to alot of people to see that you can substitute that canned pasta sauce for jarred pasta sauce and it will be more expensive. BUT, if you sub in homemade pasta sauce, the cost will surprise you, as well as the nutrition. So, I expect the "best" list will be mostly homemade foods that will be similar in cost to the original. This will not be something I can complete today, but, I hope to have it completed soon.

So, here is the original food list.
Dinner: Meatballs in pasta sauce(premade store meatballs with canned pasta sauce), macaroni and cheese(white noodles with velveeta), chicken in gravy(I think this was canned chicken in canned gravy), enriched wheat bread, butter, salad, salad dressings(bulk and store bought), cottage cheese, canned mixed fruit(in syrup), canned peaches(in syrup), whole fruit with skins, chocolate milk cartons, water. *We ran out of cottage cheese and chocolate milk and all the canned fruit in syrup

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs(powdered mixed with water), english muffins(white), hot chocolate(instant made with water), oatmeal(instant made with water), brown sugar, butter, tutti fruity cereal, white milk, whole fruit, raisin bran cereal(I think). *Didn't run out of anything

I will find out what lunch was when Andi gets home. I left after breakfast. :)

So, in my opinion, here is what they did right(So these are things I won't be changing):
At dinner we had real butter(I'm pretty sure), salad(probably not organic, but at least it was real food!), cottage cheese(lots of protein, if you can have dairy), whole fruit(yay!)

At breakfast we had real butter, white milk, whole fruit.

*I think its important to note what foods were limited supply and which ones appeared to be unlimited. My chart will reflect serving 100 people, not being unlimited servings. If you are serving real, honest to goodness, homemade foods, there is no need for it to be unlimited! My daughter could probably eat unlimited servings of mac and cheese made with white noodles and velveeta. However, if you move that to a SIDE dish and make it with high fiber noodles and real cheese, a heaping 1/2 cup serving is PLENTY! That's about what you would get with one serving spoon full.

I would LOVE to hear ideas and suggestions from my foodie friends! I am not going to go full out organic. I don't think that is realistic for a camp like this. However, I AM going to use farm fresh foods and at least free range meats.

PS. I forgot about our nighttime snack of chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies(store bought, prepackaged, tray like Keebler) and lemonade ice tea(powdered mixed with water). *We ran out of chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daily Baby Steps #3

Daily Baby Steps
This is the beginning of a series of baby steps that everyone can do to move toward better health for yourself and your family. Some of these will be easy, no brainers!  Most are simply exchanging one thing for another or eliminating something from your now healthy diet. I will include information that I think pertains to the “Why” we should do something and I will include the swap details. Usually when you remove an item, it can be replaced with a healthy alternative.
I am not perfect. I hope these things help you and encourage you, but you may have a different opinion or just not feel good eating something. Please, trust your own body. I welcome your comments and suggestions!

Step #3 Start Reading Food labels
This is a great habit to get into. It is AMAZING how many things end up in your food without you knowing or even thinking about. Reading labels takes time. So, give yourself more time at the store to read them. You can also go to your cupboards and read the labels on the stuff you already have.
So, what do you see listed on your labels? Do you recognize them? Are there some things that you can't even pronounce let alone know what they are or why they are in your food?
These are great questions to ask yourself and to find out the answer too. I am not going to cover EVERY food additive or ingredient that MAY be in your food. But, guess what? You can find everything you want to know, and more, on the internet. I will probably cover most of the major offenders, but you should take charge of your health!

Why should I read food labels?
There are many reasons to read labels. It's good to pay attention to the sodium levels or sugar levels in your food. It's also good to pay attention to fiber and protein levels. But, for our purposes of eating healthy foods that feed our bodies and help us be healthy, we should read labels to know and understand what we are eating.
Knowledge is power!
You can get tuna without added salt and you can get canned fruit without added sugar. But, you have to pay attention. Over time, you will gravitate to only buying certain brands that have ingredients that you allow for your family and your reading time will get less and less.