Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One of my not so new favorites...

Some people have been asking me about carbohydrates and which ones are good.  I have written before that if you choose whole grains over white ones that is your best choice.  One thing that I didn't mention is one of my favorite grains quinoa pronounced (keen wah). Even though technically it is not a grain it is a actually the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach.  How about that?  It really is a cool little grain..seed.

Quiona is high in protein and includes all the nine essential amino acids. It is the choice of grains for vegans and vegetarians, as it helps them take in the adequate amount of protein, required in a healthful diet. It contains lysine, an amino acid that is very important for the growth of tissues and tissue repair. It has slow releasing, high level of carbohydrates, that give the stomach a full feeling for a long time.  Plus it tastes great.  It is like cous cous but way more healthy for you.  It cooks up in only 10 minutes !! 

You can eat it for breakfast like oatmeal, or use it in cold or hot salads.  You can mix in beans, roasted vegetables, cucumbers, cheese., nuts.  This really is a versatile little grain..I mean seed.

Today's tip is to try this little seed called quinoa.  You can use it in place of pasta or rice.  Here is what i like to do with it.

Cook according to directions, which is 1 Cup quinoa to 2 cups water.
After it is done, fluff it like rice and then add the following

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C walnuts or any nuts you like
1/2 C grape tomatoes
1/2 C feta cheese
1 cucumber
some fresh parsley, dill or basil
salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all this and let sit for a while in the refrigerator and enjoy cold or at room temp.
This is a delicious and healthy side dish, main dish or salad.



Monday, November 22, 2010

To be Thankful

Well it's the week of Thanksgiving...already.  Time does fly by.  This is a wonderful time of year.  Crisp weather, comfort foods, cozy fires.  I love it.  This year we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  I love Thanksgiving because it is a time to get together with family and friends and give thanks for all that God has blessed us with.  It is a day that is somewhat non commercial unlike all the other holidays out there.  I am thankful that we take one day every year to say Thank you God,  we are so blessed.  We should all take every day to realize what bounty we all have and how blessed we truly are.  I forget this day in and day out.  We have so much and there are so many out there with so little. 

So as this week goes on try to reflect on how blessed you really are.  Give your children a big hug and tell them how much you love them.  Thank God for your spouses, children, family and friends.  Pray for them this week.  In the hustle to get all the food on the table that is so wonderful take some quiet moments to say
"Jesus, I truly am thankful."



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Much Does Healthy Eating Cost?


How much does healthy eating cost?  Although I don't think the cost of the healthy meal in this article is totally accurate, it does give us an idea of what healthier options cost.  Yes, healthy foods cost more on average than non healthy foods.  You can get candy bars most places for 50 cents or sometimes even 3 for $1.00 and one single organic apple can cost up to $2.00!  I know because I buy them for a snack when I am out shopping.

I used to always go for the cheaper option... every time.  But, as I learn more about foods, how they are made, what they are made with, how they are packaged etc.. I usually never go for the cheapest option, but the one most nutritionally sound.  Take for instance a loaf of bread.  Sure you can go to any supermarket and find their brand bread for 99 cents or less.  You may even opt for their wheat bread.  If you just look at the ingredients you will quickly see that there are over 30 things listed and probably high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils in it.  The wheat bread IS NOT 100% whole wheat.  It is enriched which means they strip out the good stuff and then replace it with artificial ingredients... thus the long list.  Plus have you ever bought a loaf of bread and notice it lasts like 2 weeks without getting stale?  When I make a loaf of homemade bread it lasts one day... that's it.  If you check the other breads that cost $2.50 to even $3.50 a loaf you hopefully will find 100% whole wheat, nuts, seeds, oats, other grains, no added sugars.  You will pay more for this bread but in the end it will be worth it for your overall health.

If you don't believe me about junk food being cheaper... check out all the fast food places.  I could feed my family of 5 at one of these restaurants for less than $20 easily.  I could probably for under $15.  Where can you feed a family of 5 for that price?  It is sad that I can go and feed them burgers, fries, fried chicken, ice cream and soda for that price yet a healthy meal would be at least double maybe even triple that price.

I know it is much easier and cheaper to just go through the drive through and grab something off the dollar menu.  Trust me I have done it with my kids.  I am the queen of trying to stretch my dollar, but I am learning that you cannot put a cost on good health.  So each day I try to make healthier choices little by little and I hope you will too.

Today's tip:  Try to make one healthier choice today when you have a meal.  One healthier choice leads to another and another.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Add whole grains to your diet

I know there are a lot of fad diets... low fat, low carb, low whatever, and though these may work for a short period of time, they do not work long term.  I hear all the time "I'm not eating carbs".  This just doesn't work.  We all need a well balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle and yes you can eat carbs and lose weight.  If you cut a whole food group out of your diet you may lose weight initially, but can you really go your whole life without a slice of pizza or bread or a dish of pasta?  The key is moderation and choosing the right carbs. 

Whole grains should be what you focus on.  100% whole wheat breads and pastas are delicious and so good for you. Whole grains take longer to digest so you feel full longer and hopefully will eat less.  Choose brown rice instead of white rice.  Sweet potatoes are a fantastic choice.  They are so high in vitamins and minerals. 

So today's tip is DO NOT cut out carbs or any one food group out of your diet, just make sure to choose the right ones.

Here is one of my favorite recipes:
Cut sweet potatoes in strips, cubes or slices.  Mix with some olive oil.  Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper or if you like some cinnamon or cayenne pepper and roast in a 500 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  So delicious!  Try it.



Friday, November 5, 2010

When you don't feel like it....do it anyway!

It's been over 3 years now and I finally think I have made it a habit.  A good habit.  The dreaded exercise...No one likes to do it, but it is something so essential for our bodies.  We all have tons of excuses why we don't have the time to exercise.  I get it.  No one wants to wake up at 5am before they go to work to sweat for 30 minutes, but I guarantee you if you do you will not regret it.  As the days get shorter and the weather colder it is easier to stay in bed or come home from work and just sit on the couch and relax. 

I challenge you to just do it.  Do it for life.  Do it for more energy.  Do it for your kids.  Do it for weight loss.  Do it for lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.  Do it for heart health.  God did not create us to sit around.  He created us to move.  Modern times make it so easy to just do nothing physical.  Email instead of walking to the mailbox.  Dishwasher instead of scrubbing dishes.  The list can go on and on.  Now we buy all sorts of fancy equipment to exercise on.  I'm not saying it's bad, I have a treadmill too,  but when I think about it, it makes me laugh.  Walking on a treadmill in place, lifting weights in our basements while watching tv.  All I can think of is how funny Charles Ingalls would think this is.  Back then everything was physical labor.  Plowing, walking, digging, pulling up water from wells.  All you did is exercise.

But, now to modern times... we have all this stuff but we need to use them... regularly.  I encourage you to start with walking.  That's it... just walk.  Start with 20 minutes a day for 3 days a week and then increase to 4 days then to 25 minutes a day and work your way up to 30 minutes of brisk walking 4-5 days a week.  You don't need any equipment, just a good pair of sneakers.  I lost most of my weight walking.  Walking works!!

So today's tip, if you have a park, walking path, hiking trail or a treadmill... just do it... start walking.  I promise you will feel great!



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My favorite time of year... and my favorite fruit

Well, this time of year means crisp weather, falling leaves, cozy feelings, and my all time favorite fruit:  The Pomegranate.  I have always loved this simple fruit.  I think that it is so special because you can only get it mid October through the end of December.  It is such a limited season that when they are available I buy a whole bunch of them.  Yesterday I found them on sale for 79 cents each so I bought 8 of them!!  I couldn't resist.  On the outside they don't look like much.  On the inside they have these deep crimson jewels called arils.  These are the part you eat.  They are much like seeds with a juicy outer coating.  They are tart yet sweet and so delicious.  The best part is they are so so so wonderfully healthy for you.  They are a good source of vitamin C and potassium and a good source of fiber and low in calories.  So this is a wonderful snack that is super healthy for you. 

You can also buy pomegranate juice in the juice section of the grocery store.  It is really healthy but really expensive.  Single pomegranates will run anywhere from $1.00 up to $3.00.  The best way to eat them is to get a bowl of water and cut the pomegranate in half and then under the water break the fruit apart and take out the arils.  The white pith will float and the arils will sink.  Drain off the white pith and the water and enjoy the arils plain or in yogurt, on salads etc. 

Today's tip is try something new like a pomegranate.  It is different and healthy and of course delicious.