Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lunch Out At Jason's Deli

Had a great lunch today with my sister, Mom, and nephew at Jason's Deli.  I didn't realize how much they've done to be more natural.  They have gotten rid of trans-fats, artificial colors, etc.  Also, they had some really good organic selections on their salad bar.

The past week I've been pinging back and forth between healthy and unhealthy foods.  There are so many great restaurants in Dallas and it is just a natural event to go out with your family.  So, this quest to find healthier restaurants is definitely worthwhile.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Human Milk.... From a Cow?

Yes folks, it's true.  Scientists have genetically modified 300 cows so that they now produce "human" milk.  I put it in quotes because unless it comes from a human, it really can't be considered human milk.  Read the story.

At the end of the article you'll see a quote that asks the question, what does this benefit us?  Why are we needing this technology and what does it bring to the table that we don't already have?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stamps of Approval Decoder

I've noticed that while browsing natural products, I see a lot of symbols and stamps I don't recognize.  I subscribe to Whole Living magazine, and today there was a stamp decoder I knew I had to share.  This makes some of the symbols make a lot more sense.  See below for the decoder.  I scanned the page in so I hope you can all see the words clear enough for it to be helpful!

Rosemeade Market & Greenhouse

Saturday we visited the Rosemeade Market & Greenhouse in Carrollton.  We really enjoyed our visit and give it a thumbs up!

Produce Selection: We felt like they had a large produce selection.  In talking with the manager we learned they do their best to find and support local farms, which Crunchy is fond of.  Their items were labeled where they were from, so we saw one entire wall which came from South Texas.
Price: Their produce was fairly priced and their prepackaged items were comparable to what you might find at Whole Foods or Central Market.
Staff Knowledge: We loved the friendliness of the staff.  The cashier talked intelligently about the items they had in their store, and even recommended future purchases based on our conversation.  She mentioned that the Heartland Bakery bread we bought has a Parmesan Cheese bread that we delicious.  We loved that she knew and tried the merchandise and could make recommendations.

They offer various classes.  Tomorrow they will be offering an Organic Seminar as you can see on their sign.  For more info on what they offer they have a Facebook page, a newsletter you can sign up for on their website, or you can just visit their website.
They had a wide selection of plants as well as sod, pest control (both conventional and organic), garden decorations. 

The inside features a produce area with a wide selection of produce.  There were LOTS of items from Texas.  What they couldn't find in  Texas, they found in close areas like Mexico.

 They also feature a selection of your favorite national organic brands.  They often run specials on these.  Today we picked up Annie's Organic Pasta for just $1.29.

They featured local eggs and dairy.  Their prices of these types of items are comparable to what you would find in Target.

They carried a wide variety of local items, including salsa, jellies, hot sauce, bread (baked this morning and delicious, by the way).




 Finally, here are some pictures of the flowers and various plants.




Monday, April 25, 2011

Food Inc.

 

So at Heidi's recommendation, Lisa and I watched Food Inc. a little over a week ago. I don't claim to know the accuracy of all the statements made but it showed how factory animals are treated. It was so hard for me to watch that I have been unable to eat meat since. It's been an interesting experience. In that time, I have noticed a few things. First of all, meat is EVERYWHERE! It's hard to find vegetarian options in the world of fast food and restaurants. Cafe Elite was great because I could order anything on the menu. Secondly, my body without meat has more energy and my stomach is a little flatter. :) Nice side benefits but not the reason for not eating meat. Anyway, I am not sure how long this will continue. Heidi and Lisa have made a concerted effort to have organic, grass-fed meats. Whenever I start to eat meat again, I'm sure I'll go that direction.

Cafe Elite

Cafe Elite
We had the awesome chance to review our first restaurant!  We went to Cafe Elite.  This is a totally vegan restaurant who strives to use organic ingredients whenever possible.  They are located in Plano right off Preston (corner of Preston Rd. and Plano Pkwy.)

Ambiance: The setting is small, cafe style.  All tables and chairs, no booths.
Service: The entire place was serviced by one woman and service was a little slow.
Food: They have their menu on their website and everything we tried was pretty delicious.  (Pictures and more info below.)




Overall we gave them 4 out of 5 watermelons!
Below are their Spring Rolls.  The sauce was a little spicy, the rolls themselves were fresh and crunchy.  We really enjoyed these rolls.
This black bean soup was recommended by another patron.  Filled with veggies and whole (not pureed) black beans, the soup had several depths of flavor and was very well received.  We even ordered some to take home to mom, who thought it was very delicious.
 This is the raw pizza.  The red sauce was fantastic.  It had several herbs and spices that gave it a sweet but savory flavor.  The "crust" was some type of a raw vegan nut loaf.  It wasn't super crunchy, it had a more chewy consistency.  Lisa, who ordered this dish, said there were too many avocados for her liking.
 This is the Raw Veggie Delight.  The sea kelp noodles were crunchy and when all the components, including the sauce, were mixed together this was quite tasty.  It was served with the raw vegan nut loaf as well.
 This is the Grilled American Panini.  The banana pickles in this sandwich gave it some kick, which was very good.  The bread was very flavorful, and crunchy on the outside like a Panini should be.  Rebecca, who ordered this dish, stated she thought there was too much Tofurky.
 This is the chili.  The chili had some spice to it, which we liked.  It wasn't super chunky, but it wasn't smooth, which we liked as it gave it that real chili texture.
We had to try dessert right?  2/3 of us liked the cookie and in fact said we wouldn't even know it was vegan had we not ordered it from a vegan place.
 We appreciated the details.  Even the take out containers and bags were earth friendly.
All in all - great experience.  We highly recommend it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flower in Bloom

I don't know why my picture makes me look like I am Polynesian. We are all three sisters from the same parents so.... Then again, my sisters have always joked that I was adopted because my complexion is a little more olive than theirs. Anyway, I thought I'd say hello and introduce myself. I'm the middle child in the family (and yes all that they say about middle children is true!). I live in Dallas and enjoy seeing the skyline when it's lit up at night. Being outdoors is therapeutic and I am always seeking beautiful sanctuaries. Every place I have lived as an adult, I found a place that helped me feel serene. It's usually by a lake, stream, mountain...some majestic, calming natural place. I am still looking for this in Dallas. Now, to be clear, I am no mountain climber; I just appreciate the beauty of the earth.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus once said she was a late bloomer. That concept has stuck with me and I think it applies. It took me a little longer in life to figure out my beliefs, fashion sense, etc. than others around me. Some things are still in development. I am a late bloomer with food appreciation as well. Recently, I have become excited about discovering sights, smells, and tastes of yummy, healthy food. When at CM the other day, I had the yummiest pineapple. It looked great, smelled fresh, and was so juicy. Contrast that with a hamburger from a fast food chain. Have you ever smelled that food up close?? Pretty gross. Anyway, I am still blooming and excited about the world I am discovering.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Central Market Yumminess

Some days I feel more healthy than others. Today, I felt pretty stinkin' healthy. I got a good nights sleep (which always makes a difference), went to Central Market off Lover's Ln in Dallas and picked up a yummy salad, local fruit, hummus and naan. It was YUMMY!! I love Central Market...everything is so fresh. They had all these juice and fruit samples and I munched my way through the store. Top it off with lots of water and it feels like a healthy day!

On To Lunch

Me, again.  Since I'm off from work as I mentioned in my last post, I've decided to document my food for the day in photos and post on the blog.  Talk about accountability!  If I can't post it on the blog, I certainly shouldn't be eating it!

So, for lunch today, I ventured over to Whole Foods in Plano.  (You will hear a lot about Whole Foods on this blog since my sisters and I love shopping there, but we are not at all affiliated with them, just fans.)  I decided that I need to study this afternoon (I'm in graduate school part-time) and I like to go to Starbucks and partake of their free Wi-Fi and comfortable chairs.  But first I went over to Whole Foods to grab a lunch.  The funny part of this experience is once I got the food over to Starbucks to settle down and start studying, I first pulled out my camera to take pictures of the food.  Not something you see every day, but that is the fun in blogging.

So, one element of lunch today is fresh-squeezed juice.  I LOVE this stuff.  Every time I can, whether from Whole Foods, Central Market, the cafeteria at my work, Jamba Juice, I grab fresh-squeezed juice.  It is an energy boost and also tastes better than any other drink.  Today I decided on Orange Pineapple Juice - one of my favorites.


I also picked up a few new types of foods from the food bar.  They had zucchini stuffed with smoked turkey and also vege-lasagna. Both were excellent.  I also added a small salad from their salad bar.



And, finally, for dessert, I bought Lucky Layla Farms Pina Colada Drinkable Yogurt.  I just found out that Lucky Layla Farms is local (just a few miles from here).  So, I'm going to support them when I can.  This, by the way, was excellent!

I have no idea how many calories I've eaten today, but I'm trying to focus on eating whole foods and letting them fill me up which will hopefully reduce cravings for junk food.  I have a huge affinity to junk food, so this will be quite the experiment.  But, so far today, I feel nourished and satisfied.  And, it makes me happy I got to support a local farmer today with the Lucky Layla yogurt.

Today's Tasty Breakfast

I woke up this morning thrilled to have started this blog!  I have the day off work today, so that means - pictures!  I wanted to share a breakfast idea that I have started to implement when possible.  It is quick, light (I don't like heavy breakfasts) and gives me tons of energy in the morning.  And, it meets my requirements for be easy (no prep time). 

I take berries or other fruits (usually blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, sometimes pineapple, etc) and then sprinkle whole oats on top.  Bear in mind, I never cut up fruit myself, so berries are good because they are small and don't require prep (just washing).  As for pineapple, I love it (one of my favorite all-time fruits), but I never buy it whole, always pre-chopped.  So, for this breakfast as I'm running out the door in the morning, I'll grab whatever fruit I have in the fridge, top it with the oats, and take off for work.  The oats I bought most recently were from Sprouts in Frisco (organic).  I have never been a huge fan of cooked oats (don't know why) but I really love rolled oats that are raw.  Also, it adds substance to the fruit so that I am full longer.  As for the fruit, today I went with blackberries that I bought at Whole Foods in Plano on sale for $2 a container.

I've never taken pictures of food before, but here are a couple pictures from today:



Tasty and actually quite filling. You can always add more oats if you want to.  And, what I really like is that by the time I'm done, some of the oats have soaked up the juices from the fruit, so the last bight is even tastier than the first!

Earth Day Freebies

Earth Day comes just once a year and is a great time to take notice of our habits.  It puts focus on the environment and our community and is a good time to reflect and renew our goals to living better.  Whether you recycle, or plant trees, or simply cut back on driving you can make an impact. (More information about Earth Day and various efforts can be found here.)

Besides the above, I especially like days like Earth Day because companies LOVE to promote.  Earth Day in particular brings out the companies that have taken personal resolves to treat the environment, or their bodies, or animals (whatever cause they have) with respect.  So here are some company promotions that might get you excited for tomorrow to come!

This will be going until April 24th!

Simply fill out the form, bring in an old cleanser (can even be empty) and Origins will give you a FULL SIZE Origins Cleanser.  

Bring in 5 plastic bags to a Disney store and get a reusable bag for free.

Bring in a travel cup and receive a free coffee or tea.  At participating stores only, so you may want to call ahead.

One million trees.  That's right, 1,000,000 trees will be given away from Lowe's.  This event is on Saturday however.  Make sure to get to your store early to make sure you get one!

From iTunes!

Essential Oils Shampoo

I used Young Living Lavender Shampoo yesterday. It's made from essential oils and doesn't have all the harsh detergents normal shampoos use. I am still undecided on the importance of essential oils. If I were to use them, Young Living is the way to go. I've been to their farm, ridden a hayride and heard their tour of the essential oil process. The shampoo was fine. The detergents in my non-essential oils shampoo make it frothy and bubbly, which I love. The YL shampoo was probably healthier for me and didn't give me bubbles. It didn't smell like my normal shampoo. I know it's the little things, but I don't think I can switch over yet.

Aren't We Always Learning?

Let me give you a little bit of background.  My sister and I were headed back from Whole Foods in Plano, where I had just saved a lot of money using my coupons.  I was really excited that I was able to bring the cost of organic down to the cost I normally spend.  I live on a budget, but I don't want to sacrifice my family's health.  When I realized that living healthily might not be as expensive as I thought- well, I was thrilled.  Saving money is like my drug.  I love seeing the numbers go down as the cashier scans my coupons.  And I love walking out of the store knowing I haven't put our family's financial picture in jeopardy in order to keep us healthy.

When I had my son in 2009, I knew I wanted to change how my husband and I approached food.  I wanted my son to view food as fuel for the body.  I decided I didn't want to flutter from diet to diet.  I don't believe in fads and I don't believe in "diet."  So for about a year now, I've been working on changing what we eat.  I'm the guardian of the kitchen.  I do the grocery shopping and I cook the meals.  I know that I am directly responsible for what my husband and my son consume.  I started by changing our proportions, making the meal less about meat and more about fruits and veggies.  Then I started looking at content.  I decided to use less processed foods to bring down our sodium intake.  Slowly but surely I feel like I've improved our diet.  We currently buy about 50% organic, but I'm hoping with my newest saving strategies, we can up that amount by even more.

I love this blog concept because we all come from different perspectives.  All our priorities are different and our views, budget, and needs vary.  I feel like we are constantly learning and improving.  I'm glad you have joined us here and I hope you'll feel welcome to comment as well as give us ideas!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Juicing Fruit

This morning for breakfast, I had carrot juice (that and a piece of Ezekiel bread). I don't typically juice carrots but I was at my mom's house and she had a hankering. It was yummy! Not only was it good, it gave me energy and I felt my brain worked a little more quickly. This morning it was straight carrot but adding celery and apple juice is probably my favorite juicing combo. Anyway, just thought I'd share. I felt very crunchy this morning. :)

Excited to Eat Whole


I'm very excited to be typing my inaugural post for what I think will be such a fun blog to be a part of.  I've been trying for a long time to eat healthy foods and I've looked into all types of diets.  I don't feel right about eating low-carb, I know that eating lots of processed foods is bad, I know that I feel healthier when I get nutrients from fruits and vegetables.  I really like the idea of eating a diet based on whole, natural foods.  And, as I've researched this kind of diet, I've become aware of the local foods movement and also the benefits of organic foods.  I am a fan of Dr. Furhman who proposes a diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and limited meat and dairy.

So, I've definitely made it far enough in this journey to know how I should be eating.  However, in reality, I eat a diet that is too much based on fast food and find myself craving unhealthy foods all the time.  When I'm stressed, I find ice-cream to be my friend, and who can avoid chocolate when you've had a hard day?  So, for me, this blog is as much about personal resolve to improve my eating habits as it is about anything else.  As long as I am only cooking for myself, I don't know that I will ever put too much time into cooking.  So, it is important that I find ways to eat healthfully in a way that doesn't take up too much time.  I know that if I try to start a diet that takes too much daily effort, I will end up giving up.

I have found Whole Foods and Central Market to be my friends.  They have pre-prepared foods and I love going to their food bar and picking a good meal.  For me, that is the first step into this life-style.  It does cost more, I'm know, than preparing the foods myself.  But, it works for me and still costs about the same or sometimes even less than going out for food.

So, I look forward to this journey and especially exploring with my sisters how to live this lifestyle in DFW.

Happy Eating!

My Loot at Whole Foods

I can’t believe all the fantastic deals I got today.  My first Whole Foods coupon adventure was a true success.  

For all of these deals, I printed coupons directly from www.wholefoods.com/coupon.  Plus, I stacked those coupons with the linked coupons beneath each listing.  (Stacking means to use one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon, for double the savings!)  Note: most coupon printing allows you to print two unique coupons to use.  So you'll see that some of these I have two products, whereas some I have one.

Nut Thins.  Regularly priced at $2.99.  I got for $.99
WF Coupon $1.00 off


Seeds of Change Products.  Regularly priced at $3.39, sale price of 2/$6.00.  I got for $1.00 each.
WF Coupon $1.00 off
$1.00 off Seeds of Change Product

Imagine Broth.  Regularly priced at $3.69.  I got for $2.69 each.
WF Coupon $1.00 off 2.
$1.00 off 2 Imagine Broth


Imagine Soup.  Regularly priced at $2.79.  I got for $1.79 each.
WF Coupon $1.00 off 2.

And perhaps my greatest score of the day:
Muir Glen Tomatoes!  Regularly Priced for $2.19.  I got for $.19 each! 
WF Coupon $1.00 off


So my total today was $12.33.  SCORE!