Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Annie's Pizza Coupon

Check out Annie's FB page for a $2 off coupon for their newest product, pizza!  We love all of Annie's organic and natural line, I can't wait to try their pizza.  Looks like this is only available at Whole Foods!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Juice Reboot

I saw a movie a few weeks ago called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It is a true story of a man from Australia who comes to the US and goes on a juice fast.  He ends up losing a lot of weight.  If you haven't seen it, it is very inspiring (kind of like The Biggest Loser).  I recommend it.

Interestingly enough, the guy in the picture above is star of the film and has a site where you can learn about juice fasting.  There is a lot of information and a few different types that people can do.  The site is:

Now, I have tried these in the past and found that they only make me crave bad food more.  However, I've heard that if you keep going, it gets easier.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Aren't Mushrooms The Best?

I had some great mushrooms today in a stir-fry with red and green peppers.  I was reminded how scrumptious mushrooms can be.  Also, they add such volume and substance to a meal.  They don't have an overwhelming taste and can be flavored several different ways.  They are great chameleons.

10 Ways to Get Your Picky Toddler to Eat

My son has always, since birth, been difficult to feed.  When we hit solid food stage, it wasn't different.  In fact, after we conquered purees (months after most children) he didn't want to get off purees and he ate pureed food longer than most kids.  Once he started eating table food, we learned he didn't like meat and he didn't like bread.  He's hesitant to try anything new.  And by hesitant, I mean he locks his mouth up like Fort Knox.  He means business.

So you combine his new found toddler independence stage (he's 2 1/2) with his previous "I hate most food stage" and you've got the perfect combination for a frustrated, tired, and worried mom.  I found myself getting increasingly frustrated and tired at spending so much time and effort on preparing a healthy meal only to have it tossed (literally) to the ground by a battling toddler.  I actually recall being on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor cleaning up his mess and crying.  My son was eating nothing and I felt like a failure.  So I read all the advice I found and I've read lots of advice, and I haven't found a lot of things that work with the in between kid stage, namely age 1 to whenever your kid can be reasoned with.  The advice to encourage your kid to take one bite, won't work with my kid.  Have your kid help prepare the meal, great advice, but it doesn't work for toddlers.  My favorite advice says to make the food fun to eat.  When I read this advice, I thought this might be something I could work with.  But their advice required hours of turning olives into penguins and carrots into swords.  Yeah, right.

I'm no expert (is anyone?) and we continue to have daily battles, but here are some tips that have worked with my VERY picky toddler to not only EAT but to eat nutritious foods.

  1. Offer him a staple (something you KNOW they like and have eaten in the past) at every meal.  And offer something new.  I make sure I offer one his "staples", in a form he likes, at every sitting.  Does it get old?  Yes.  Does he eat?  Yes.  And that's what I'm going for.  At least I know he's eating SOMETHING and I can feel okay with him going to bed without starving.
  2. Offer a staple in a form he likes and in a new presentation.  I don't do this every meal, but every few days, I might offer him steamed green beans (a staple) and sauteed green with lemon juice (a new presentation).  I do this when it's easy for me to do.  If I'm making green beans for the meal, I might simply take a few out before seasoning them so I have some he likes before I give him more.  But say your kid doesn't like green beans, that's okay, maybe try a cracker (a staple) and a cracker with a sliced tomato and salt and pepper on top (a new presentation).  Maybe they'll eat it, maybe they won't, but you're exposing them to something new with something familiar.

    Or, for example, serve couscous.  My son loves rice, so I started expanding it and showing him other forms of pasta and grains that look similar, but they're slightly different.  We make couscous, quinoa, etc.  Or we serve thick spaghetti noodles, angel hair, penne, etc.  The goal is to get them to slowly progress their palate.
  3. Make eating fun.  I'm not very good at this, but my husband is.  Remember as babies you might have done the airplane with the spoon landing in their mouth?  And then once they could hold their own spoon, it seems like all the fun went away?  That happened at our house.  At dinner one evening, Miles was having his usual "I don't want to eat anything you offer me" whine.  My husband took a toothpick and put it in his veggie, showing him to eat it off the toothpick, and a new fun technique of eating took place.  Miles loved it and ate a lot of his meal.

    My son loves to count, he loves shapes, trucks and letters.  So I try to incorporate some of those things into how I prepare food (perhaps I start telling him about the shape of the carrot, or I might specifically buy pasta that's circle or square).  It requires actively using my imagination, but it helps him to be more familiar with what he's eating.
  4. Include them in the conversation.  My son is still not a conversationalist, but we talk to him constantly and encourage him to talk to us.  It might not be the best political discussion at your dinner table, but you're getting the concept going.  And when they talk, they eat slower (meaning mealtime lasts longer), they're not paying attention to all the things they DON'T want to eat.  Instead they're engaged and may even mindlessly and distractedly start eating what's in front of them.
  5. Don't worry about manners.  This one might not be popular, but I know I have YEARS to harp on manners.  My goal right now in this season of Miles' life is to get nutritious foods into his body.  My son is fairly well behaved at the dinner table.  When he's all done, that's when he starts acting out.  So while some people may say they need to learn to stay at the table until everyone is finished, I say phooey.  They're toddlers.  They don't have long attention spans.  When they get older and more verbal (say preschool?) they'll be more involved in the conversation and talking about their day, but when they're done, let them go!  Leave them with the impression that dinner was fun and they weren't being held hostage.  Kids want control.  This is a small thing to let them have control over.

    On this same concept, with a CLEAN table, of course, Miles might line up all his food (peas are his favorite to do this with) and eat them off the table.  My son was eating peas (healthy) so I didn't chide him for eating of the table, instead I counted them with him, laughed when he chewed them up, and cheered him a long.  He ate a ton of peas that night followed by whole wheat pasta.  Three bowls.  (A HUGE accomplishment for my picky toddler, who eats like a bird most days).
  6. Serve it up in different ways.  I was being lazy one day and I put green beans in a colander on the table.  My son thought that was the funniest thing ever and ate the whole thing.  Yes, all of the green beans.  So now, sometimes I serve dinner in the colander.  Or I might buy a new plastic bowl from the dollar store in a really bright color of his choosing.  Just make it different from the everyday.  One mom I talked to said sometimes she set the dinner table all nice with candles and place settings.  I'm not sure this would work for toddlers, but it most certainly would work with older kids.  The concept is, meal time is different and exciting.
  7. Offer healthy snacks.  Somehow in our house, snack time started to mean cracker time.  But crackers aren't the most nutritious.  So I started offering cheese and grapes on a platter (or an ice cube tray if I'm feeling wild that day).  Over time, I reduced the amount of crackers I offered and amazingly, Miles increased the amount of cheese and grapes he ate.  Then I decreased the amount of cheese and he increased the amount of grapes.  For a snack I might offer edamame, or a green smoothie (see below).  Or sometimes I still might just offer crackers.  The point is I work to make snack time a healthier time too.  Which, of course, doesn't mean he'll never eat a cracker again, it just means aI offer a larger variety of healthier foods more often.
  8. Make use of purees.  My son has a texture problem.  If yours does too, I highly suggest giving them pureed pouches for snacks.  (Yes, like for babies.)  Earth's Best has a great line of them here.  My son doesn't eat these every day, but on days that he's refusing to eat, I might offer him one while he's playing so that I know SOMETHING is getting in him.
  9. Along the same lines, give them juice!  And by juice I mean juice your own apples and carrots and whatever fancies you.  Miles loves his homemade juices.  Or make a green smoothie.  Packed with so much fruit, they won't notice that there's kale or spinach in it.  If those are a little too domestic for you, or you just don't have time, make use of your refrigerated sections.  Odwalla (Miles loves Superfood and Mango) and Bolthouse Farms (our favorite is Green Goodness, we buy it every week and my son calls it green juice).
  10. Relax.  I have stopped worrying about what my son eats in any given day.  Some days he eats practically nothing.  He just doesn't want it.  But then some days he eats like a horse, a hungry hungry horse.  Look at what your child eats over a period of a few days, or even a week, and I'd be willing to bet they eat more variety than you might think.  I know I want my son to have a healthy adulthood and not be saddled with diseases and obesity.  To do that, I simply need to make sure I model good behavior, offer healthy choices, and let his body tell him what he needs when he needs it.  This advice certainly is easier said than done, and I worry frequently, but let's just relax and trust ourselves!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sandwiches For Dinner

Tonight for dinner, I had open-face sandwiches with Ezekiel 7-grain bread, a small amount of mayonnaise, raw cheddar cheese, a big slice of a tomato.  Two of these bad-boys were filling and scrumptious.  I love Ezekiel bread and it is now pretty much the only bread that I eat.

It occurred to me that I forgot the lettuce. I'll remember that next time.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cat Exercise

That's right, you read the title of this post correctly.  Basically, my cat is round.  I've been trying to figure out how to help her become more fit, for her good, not because that will make cuter.  Let's face it, what's better than a round kitty?

However, I am a little worried.  I can't feed her twice a day like I've read I'm supposed to. She is home during the day when I'm at work, so she has to have enough food our for potentially lots of hours that she is alone.  So, my next thought is to try to get her to exercise.

I have bought her toys which she does play with.  We play with lasers.  I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do to help her get more exercise. I found an article with some thoughts.  Getting another cat is NOT an option for me (one is plenty), but some of the other ideas are interesting:

  1. Pair up exercise partners. Since a cat won’t respond to your requests to play as easily as a dog might, Jean Hofve, DVM, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and current president of the Rocky Mountain Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, has a simple solution to ensure that felines get their needed cat exercise: Start with two cats. “A pair of cats who get along well will get plenty of exercise through their own wrestling and chasing games. I have a pair of 8-year-old brothers who still play like kittens!” says Dr. Hofve, adding that it’s better to get two cats at the same time than to introduce a second cat later on.
  2. Try a cat tower. The multi-tiered “cat towers” sold online and in pet stores are another good way to ensure that your cat will have plenty of places to play and areas to climb for a good cat workout. Susan Nelson, DVM, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, suggests placing small treats in different parts of the tower to encourage climbing and playing.
  3. Keep plenty of toys around. Because cats tend to keep to themselves much more than dogs, the best strategy for cat workouts is to give them plenty of options in the form of toys. And these don’t have to be expensive toys from the pet store, either. Dr. Nelson says that yarn, rope, ping pong balls, empty spools, and pens are just a few of the everyday household objects that you can use as toys to encourage cat exercise.
  4. Create a hockey rink. To make things even more interactive and fun, Nelson advises putting a ball in a large cardboard box or the bathtub to create an instant “hockey rink” for your cat. As the ball goes flying off the walls (and the cat goes flying after it), you’ll get some laughs and your cat will get some much-needed exercise.
  5. Have fun with lasers. Speaking of laughs, few things will entertain you more — or have your cat moving faster — than a laser pointer on the end of a pen or leveling tool. “Laser toys are often good entertainment, but follow it up with a real toy the cat can catch to avoid fixation and frustration over never being able to catch the light beam,” says Hofve.
  6. Give your cat a wand. For great cat exercise and a good follow-up to the laser, says Hofve, is one of the flexible wand-style toys with a feather, mouse, or other diversion on the far end. “Interactive play with a wand or fishing-pole type toy is fabulous exercise, usually quite funny, and extremely satisfying for the big hunter in your little cat,” says Hofve. “You can make it more challenging by running the toy up and over the sofa or up and down stairs to increase the exercise intensity.”
  7. Use catnip wisely. Catnip is a useful tool for getting your cat to exercise, but Hofve says it’s best to use it only in the proper situations. “Remember that not all cats respond to catnip, and of those that do, a few will become aggressive from catnip,” she says. “Also, never give catnip before a stressful event, such as a trip to the vet. Your vet will thank you!”
  8. Tempt your cat with treats. Cori Gross, DVM, a VPI Pet Insurance field veterinarian near Seattle, says that you can always count on cats responding to treats, so she advises putting treats in different parts of the house to give her something to search for. Also, try a puzzle toy, which is a pet toy that your cat will have to knock around in order to get the treat. “You can make your own by taping together the top and bottom of a small box, cutting a small hole in the side, and placing a few treats inside,” says Dr. Gross. “The cat will have to bat and knock the toy around quite a bit before the treats will fall out.”
  9. Get your cat on a treadmill. Believe it or not, you can actually teach your cat to run on a treadmill for exercise, says Hofve. “It’s best to start when they are young, have lots of energy to burn, and are easy to entice with a toy,” she says. “Also, on the treadmill the cat should always be supervised.”
  10. Go outside. Finally, with the proper training and the right equipment, you can entice your cat to walk with a leash and a harness outside just like dogs do. “Leash-walking is great if you can get your cat to tolerate the harness and lead,” says Hofve. “Make sure the harness fits properly and can’t be wriggled out of. Young cats are easier to train, but in all cases it takes patience and perseverance.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Rider, The Elephant, And The Path

I read an article recently that I found very inspiring and wanted to share.  It is based on a book called The Happiness Hypothesis.  Here is a portion of it:

The Rider, the Elephant and the Path

The tension between the rational and emotional selves is captured best by an analogy used by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt in his book The Happiness Hypothesis (Basic Books, 2006). Haidt argues that our emotional side is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider. Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime the 6-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.
Most of us are all too familiar with the situations in which our Elephant overpowers our Rider. You’ve experienced this if you’ve ever slept in, overeaten, dialed up your ex at midnight, procrastinated, tried to quit smoking and failed, skipped the gym, gotten angry and said something you regretted, abandoned your Spanish or piano lessons, refused to speak up in a meeting because you were scared, and so on.
The weakness of the Elephant, our emotional and instinctive side, is clear: It’s lazy and skittish, often looking for the quick payoff (ice cream cone) over the long-term payoff (being fit). When change efforts fail, it’s usually the Elephant’s fault, since the kinds of change we want typically involve short-term sacrifices for long-term payoffs. Such change attempts get scuttled when the Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination.
The Elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long-term, to plan, to think beyond the moment. But what may surprise you is that the Elephant also has enormous strengths and the Rider has crippling weaknesses.
Emotion is the Elephant’s turf — love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. That fierce instinct you have to protect your kids against harm — that’s the Elephant. That spine-stiffening feeling when you need to stand up for yourself — that’s the Elephant.
And even more important if you’re contemplating a change, the Elephant is the one who gets things done. To make progress toward a goal, whether it’s noble or crass, requires the energy and drive of the Elephant. And this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s great weakness: spinning the wheels.
The Rider tends to overanalyze and overthink things. Chances are, you know people with Rider problems: your friend, who can agonize for 20 minutes about what to eat for dinner; your colleague, who can brainstorm about new ideas for hours but can’t ever seem to make a decision. The Rider also wears out easily: Exerting self-control and focusing intently on what “should” happen next can leave the Rider worn out and helpless to carry through with his plans.
If you want to change things, you must appeal to both these elements of the human self. The Rider provides the planning and direction, and the Elephant provides the passion and the sustained energy.
One remaining key to changing behavior is shaping your situation. We call the situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path.” When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant. If you can do all three at once, dramatic change can happen — even if you don’t have lots of power or resources behind you.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yummy Bean Soup

This is THE easiest soup in the world, and healthy. 

Combine approximately 6 cans of low-sodium or no-sodium beans (do not drain).  Add 1 can of tomatoes and 1/2 of a chopped onion.  Add 1 packet of taco seasoning.  Let simmer until hot and eat to your heart's delight.

So simple, very yummy and quick to make.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Being Healthy Is A Revolutionary Act

I have a gym membership at Lifetime Fitness, which is a wonderful gym.  If you've never been to this gym, it is like working out in a spa.  It is the only gym I've ever been to that actually beckons me to it.

One of the benefits of gym membership is a subscription to their magazine: Experience Life.  This is a very well-produced magazine that focuses on nutrition, whole food eating, techniques for exercise, etc.  It is not at all one of those off-the-shelf magazines with famous people dressed in bikinis on the cover.

So, last fall, the magazine included a booklet titled "Being Healthy is a Revolutionary Act."  It brought up the point that our society has moved so far away from a healthy way of life, that to counter that way of life is revolutionary.

I've thought about that a lot since then.  Here is a link to a site that they put together that spells out ways to be revolutionary for your health -

You can also get the booklet I referred to on their site.  I recommend doing some reading on this site.  It is good stuff.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chicken Nuggets are Healthy?

I saw this article today and was shocked and saddened for a variety of reasons.  Not only did the school inspect the student's lunch (apparently they inspect homemade lunches) and determine it didn't meet USDA standards, they then fed the child chicken nuggets (which clearly has more nutritional value, right?)  

How would you feel if this happened to your child?  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Colony Shoreline Trail

For those of you in the Frisco or The Colony area, I have discovered a cool walking trail. It's called The Colony Shoreline Trail and extends 3.5 miles. It's a primarily dirt trail with mile markers and benches along the way. I went this morning and it was just gorgeous - birds flying overhead, sun shining, breeze blowing. If you need a break from your normal exercise routine or just need some time in nature, find your way to The Colony. Just drive to the west end of North Colony Road.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MyFitnessPal Can Be Your Fitness Pal

I wanted to share my great experience with  If you haven't used it before, it is a great place to keep track of your food every day.  Also, there are fantastic forums where people are very active in posting and supporting each other.  There is a great discussion forum for success stories where every day, people are posting new stories and pictures of their weight loss success.

In fact, the discussion forums are one of the greatest aspects of this site.  First, there are tons of topics in the forums, so whatever helps you identify with others, you can probably find people like you on the site.  Second, people are very supportive of each other.  You can easily make friends with people you've never met before and support each other on your journey to health.

I also am glad that all of the food that I've wanted to track is in the database.  Sometimes on other sites when I want to add something that is not very common (like Whole Foods'white bean and kale soup), it won't exist on a site, but since this database lets members add foods and then make them public, I've been able to find pretty much everything I eat.

And, it is all free.

I've heard it has a great app for your droid, too, but I haven't tried that (still working the Blackberry).

So, check it out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Need Advice - Is A Trainer A Must-Have For Weight-Loss?

So, I hired a trainer for 24 sessions about 10 weeks ago.  We've been meeting twice per week and my pre-paid sessions are almost up.  I've gone through some definite physical changes since working with him.  First, I've never in my life felt so much muscular pain - and not just once, but time and time again.  He takes me to a level that I don't think I can possibly reach, and then he pushes me to go farther.  I've definitely learned a lot about myself physically and what I am capable of.  Also, I am absolutely stronger and more nimble than I used to be.  Muscles that have never been pushed (and barely used for that matter) have been woken up and overall I know I'm stronger than I used to be.

However, what is interesting is the training didn't exactly cause me to lose weight, which was the goal.  I found that weeks where I push myself at the gym (and get in the requisite cardio sessions on my own that my trainer assigns me as homework), that my weight doesn't change at all if I am not eating well.  Yet, if I am eating according to my whole foods, zero processed, healthy eating plan, the scale will move, even if my work-outs have not been great.

This leads me to believe that food is 80% of the battle, and exercise is the icing on top.  I'm curious what others think.  Either way, my sessions are almost completed and my trainer of course wants me to continue.  I'm thinking about the cost and weighing that against the fact that I don't think the training is actually getting me a ton of results on the scale.  Any advice?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Health Starts Here: ANDI Scores

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Whole Foods has partnered with Dr. Fuhrman to help encourage a healthy lifestyle.  If you walk around a Whole Foods Market you will find a reference to an ANDI score.  ANDI stands for Aggregate, Nutrient, Density Index.  This scale was created by Dr. Fuhrman and refers to the nutrient density in a food.

The types of nutrients considered for the ANDI scale are:
Calcium, Carotenoids: Beta Carotene, Alpha Carotene, Lutein & Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Fiber, Folate, Glucosinolates, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Selenium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, plus ORAC score X 2 (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a method of measuring the antioxidant or radical scavenging capacity of foods).

The highest score on the ANDI scale is 1000 with the lowest close to zero.  The ANDI scale focuses on whole foods as it is difficult to measure the nutrient density in processed foods.

So, you can see why Dr. Fuhrman claims that the healthiest diet contains lots of vegetables!  The nutrients in vegetables.

I love that Whole Foods has posted ANDI scores around the store.  It is a great reminder of the type of food we should be basing our diet on.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Whole Foods: Health Starts Here

I've been posting the past few days about following the Dr. Fuhrman diet.  I've given it everything I can, though I find eating this many vegetables not so easy.  I guess it isn't just about eating the veggies, it is about preparing them.  I am a full-time professional who is working on a graduate degree part-time, so I just don't have time to do a lot of preparing.  I'm very grateful for the discovery of green smoothies as I've already posted about.  However, I can't take my Vitamix blender to work with me, so I've had to find a way to get more vegetables at work.

Imagine my excitement when I realized that my favorite store (Whole Foods) has partnered up with Dr. Fuhrman to focus on his way of eating.  You can find information about it on the Whole Foods site.

Whole Foods has launched a Health Starts Here (HSH) campaign which is based on Dr. Fuhrman's philosophy.  Per the Whole Foods website, the pillars of health are:

Eat whole, unprocessed foods.

We believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food available.

Eat a colorful variety of plants.

No matter what type of diet you follow — including those with dairy, meat or seafood — reconfigure your plate so the majority of each meal is created from an abundance of raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Eat healthy fats.

Get healthy fats from whole plant sources, such as nuts, seeds and avocados. These foods are rich in micronutrients as well. Work to eliminate (or minimize) extracted oils and processed fats.

Eat nutrient dense foods.

Choose foods that are rich in micronutrients when compared to their total caloric content. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. For guidance on this, look for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scoring system in our stores.
What is the ANDI score?  More on that in a later post.  :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Market Street - Living Well

 Today I rediscovered Market Street. I haven't really lived in an area close in proximity to a MS so it's never really been one of my primary places to shop. But I was wandering around today and stumbled across one and thought I'd stop in. How excited was I to find a large selection of organic and natural foods?! They have these signs all throughout the store in each section of food:

There was a good variety of food often found only at Sprouts or Whole Foods. Anyway, check it out the next time you are around one!

Get More Vitamins, Blend Your Greens

The past couple of days, I've posted about how great green smoothies are.  Today, I want to share some of the health benefits.  I was surprised to read by Dr. Fuhrman that blending vegetables greatly increases the absorption of nutrients.  Here is an excerpt from an article he wrote on the subject of why blending is good for veggies:

"All plants are composed of cells whose walls consist mainly of cellulose, which is a type of carbohydrate.  A plant-based diet (one rich in fruits and vegetables) contains a large amount of cellulose.  Humans do not have the enzyme capable of breaking down cellulose, so we cannot utilize cellulose as an energy source.  If we eat cellulose-rich, raw greens without thoroughly masticating them, we lose much of the food value.  To get as many nutrients as possible into your bloodstream, the plant walls must be broken open to release the nutrients inside the cell.  When we simply chew a salad, about seventy to ninety percent of the cells are not broken open.  As a result, most of the valuable nutrients contained within those cells never enter the bloodstream.  Blending raw, leafy greens guarantees that a higher percentage of nutrients will be absorbed into your bloodstream for your body to use."

So, blend those veggies!  They are good for you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Green Smoothies!!

As I mentioned a few days ago, I have started to try to live the Dr. Fuhrman eating plan.  In this plan, he says we should get 1 pound of raw vegetables and 1 pound of cooked vegetables a day.  Now, you may say, "there is no way I can eat that  many vegetables!"  Well, that is his point.  If you are stuffing yourself with vegetables, you can't be eating things that are bad for you!

So, as I've tried to find ways eat more vegetables, I've found that its tough because I don't inherently love the taste of vegetables and want to flavor them with something!  However, Dr. Fuhrman also says that we shouldn't eat salt (which limits the type of flavoring), and he does not condone a lot of dairy (which means no cheesy broccoli).

This is why I was so excited to discover green smoothies.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I just bought a Vitamix blender.  This super-powered machine has an engine that almost sounds like a motorcycle!  You can pack it with ice, frozen fruits, kale, nuts, etc, and it just blends them so easily.  Compare to other blenders that couldn't handle this load one ingredient at a time, much less all at once.

So, what is a green smoothie?  Well, the basic ingredients are: Fruit (preferably frozen), greens (preferably dark, leafy greens), water (just a little) and ice.  It is so simple!

The fruit is the brilliant ingredient, because with the right fruit to vegetable ratio, you will barely know you are drinking veggies.  Keep in mind, the smoothie will be green, but the taste will be a wonderful, cold, fruity treat!

There are some great online resources that discuss green smoothies and have some great recipes:

My favorite combo for a smoothie is:
2 oranges (peeled, whole)
2 cups of frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 cup of water
Ice to desired thickness
2 cups of shredded kale or collard greens

Yummy every time!

Good luck with your smoothie making!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vitamix - You Have To Get One Of These!

Okay, my mom bought a Vitamix blender years ago, but since I wasn't sold on the importance of eating a whole foods lifestyle, I didn't understand why she spent a few hundred dollars on a blender.  She has had this blender for years with no mechanical issues and I've probably had 4 or 5 blenders in that time.  However, it took me until this year with my quest for health to decide to actually buy a Vitamix.

And, it is the BEST decision I've made in ages!  This blender is amazing!  I have been having green smoothies almost every day, eating more Kale and Collard Greens than ever before in my life!  I have more energy and I look forward to my next one.  Never before did I think I would enjoy Kale.  (that's right - Kale!!)

So, if you are on the fence about getting a Vitamix, my advice is to get one!  It will be a mainstay in your kitchen for years to come and you can do anything with it.  Also, it will help you LOVE your greens in a way you never before experienced!

Top 10 Ways to Save Money Eating Naturally!

People think that eating healthy is expensive, and it can be- but it doesn't have to be.  Here are my top 10 ways that I save money and can still afford delicious good foods.
  1. Pay attention- a couple weeks ago I was walking in Sprouts and saw a coupon booklet.  There was a huge stack of them.  I picked up about 10 of them, they don't expire until the end of the year- which means I have a full year to find matching coupons offered by Sprouts and Whole Foods to stack them with!  
  2. Take the stores up on their offers- Whole Foods offered a calendar which contained numerous coupons in the middle.  It cost $3, with the proceeds going to charity.  I purchased.  Again, I have a full year to combine these coupons with manufacturer's coupons (see above) and get the best deals around!  
  3. Email your favorite companies- often they will send you free samples and coupons.  I've done this with a few companies.  Plus, sign up for their email updates and Facebook page.  I regularly obtain coupons from Organic Valley, Green Works, Earth's Best, etc- simply by signing up. 
  4. Sign up for updates for stores that offer store coupons (you can stack).  Whole Foods has coupons you can print online (or you can get their Whole Deals booklet in the store.)  Sprouts Facebook page often has coupons as well as their email list (each month you get one item completely free!)  (This goes for Target too, they offer a good selection of organic coupons so sign up for their coupons.  Often I randomly get a coupon booklet in the mail from them full of Target coupons!)  You can also get coupons from Mambo Sprouts.
  5. Recycle Bank- This website is super easy and really awesome.  Basically you can earn points by doing simple green, environmentally friendly tasks and then redeem the points for coupons.  Sign up here.
  6. Make items from scratch.  This seems fairly obvious.  Things you might not think about making at home are so simple and very cheap, like taco seasoning and teriyaki sauce.
  7. Stock up when the price is right.  When I head to a grocery store, I keep my eyes peeled for things that may not even be on my list that week- like organic grass fed beef.  Sprouts has a sale on this so often, so I stock up when I can.
  8. Subscribe to a few coupon saving blogs/FB pages.  One of my favorites is Healthy Life Deals.  They often do coupon match ups, coupon alerts, and deals they find on Amazon.  Our blog is helpful too- of course. :)
  9. Can and freeze items in batches (tomato sauce, chicken broth, etc).  Along this same concept is to not throw anything away.  If you cook a chicken, save the bones to make a broth the next day.  If you core a tomato to make pico de gallo, don't throw away the inner portion, toss it in with other tomatoes for sauce.  Don't throw away the last piece of bread, or the ends if you're like me.  Make them into bread crumbs for meatloaf or various coatings.
  10. Look into local CSAs (you can search here) or Bountiful Baskets in your area.  This can save you money, and many of them help you support local food and family farms.