Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten Steps to Healthier Eating

This morning I am giving a talk about healthy eating.  First time I have ever spoken to a group of my peers, so pray for me!

Anyway, here are my notes for my talk.  I just thought I would stick them up here so you all can read through them!  Plus, I posted them for the ladies to whom I am talking, so they may reference them if they like.  (And see everything I intended to talk about, even if I didn't get to it!)

10 Steps to Healthier Eating
  1. Stop drinking all sodas and then juices, especially non-fruit juices
    1. it has sugar, food dyes, other chemicals
    2. no redeeming value.  no nutrition. 
  2. Cut out MSG. Cut out food dyes.  They are neurotoxins. 
    1. Neurotoxin: a toxin that acts directly on the tissues of the central nervous system
      1. They make you dumber!
    2. MSG can be hidden in other ingredients.  There are some that are allowed to be up to 78% MSG and the other 22% can be some other chemical or ingredient, and still be called a name other than MSG. I handed out a sheet with those names.  If you didn't get it, google it! :-P
  3. Cut out chemicals
    1. can’t pronounce it? Don’t know what it is? Cut it out!  Esp. in view of the MSG list discussed earlier. 
    2. This is my rule for cleaners too, and toothpaste, etc.
  4. Cut out partially and fully hydrogenated everything
    1. Hydrogenation is the process of heating an oil and passing hydrogen bubbles through it. The fatty acids in the oil then acquire some of the hydrogen, which makes it more dense. If you fully hydrogenate, you create a solid (a fat) out of the oil. But if you stop part way, you a semi-solid partially hydrogenated oil that has a consistency like butter, only it's a lot cheaper. (http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/PartiallyHydrogenatedOils.html
    2. Partially hydrogenated oils make you gain weight the same way that saturated fats do -- by making you consume even more fat to get the the essential fatty acids you need. Partially hydrogenated fats are even worse. Not only do they produce disease over the long term, but they interfere with the body's ability to ingest and utilize the good fats!
    3. Worse, most partially hydrogenated oil is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. That's a problem, because soybean oil depresses the thyroid--which lowers your energy levels, makes you feel less like exercising, and generally makes you fatter!
    4. Nearly all foods with p/ or f/ hydrogeny have a non-trans fat alternative
      1. ex: oreos/ newman’s own, ranch dip/ organic ranch dip, peanut butter, box mac n cheese
  5. Switch to free range, grass fed meat
    1. Other meat is pumped full of antibiotics, fed foods that are laden with GMOs, are not able to move really at all.  They are not healthy.
    2. Confined Animal Feeding Operations
  6. Add more fresh fruits and veggies
    1. 5 a day is 1 at b/fast, 2 at lunch, 2 at dinner-- try to add one more serving per meal, also replace snacks with fruits or veggies. 
    2. Do not just add fruits; they have sugar-- strive to add veggies too!
    3. Tip: blend spinach into things-- pancake batter, smoothies, spaghetti sauce, etc.
    4. Consider a CSA (community shared agriculture) share
      1. forces you to be creative with veggies you may not necessarily buy
      2. no thinking at the food store-- what should I buy this week? 
  7. Replace boxed food you eat with homemade version
    1. make mac&cheese instead of kraft, make brownies, spaghetti sauce (or consider a BPA free jar), hamburger helper
    2. find alternatives to pb&j-- this one is new for me!
      1. hummus on toast (with tomato, cucumber, etc)
      2. sardines on crackers with mustard
      3. tuna salad on cucumber slices with tomato toppers (from smockityfrocks.com)
      4. hard boiled eggs
    3. make large batches and freeze in smaller portions-- i do this with mac and cheese, when i make bread, hummus, muffins, baked beans
  8. Healthy Fats
    1. coconut oil, olive oil, butter, ‘expeller pressed’ oils
    2. Other oils: vegetable oils or anything not labeled ‘expeller pressed’ are chemically stripped from their sources, leaving behind chemical residues
    3. Also, some oils are GM-- safflower, corn, soybean
  9. Healthy Dairy
    1. raw milk and cheese vs. pasturized, homogenized
      1. pasturizaton kills everything in your milk. potentially good or bad, but it doesn’t take it out of the milk. bad hygiene for commercial cows results in puss in milk and other things which are not taken out by past. only killed. then when your milk goes bad, it is actally going rancid. yuck.
      2. homogenization breaks down big fats in cream that naturally rises to the top into little fats that don’t separate. also the big fats cant go in your blood, but the little ones can. They weren’t supposed to and this causes all kinds of problems. 
  10. Cut out sugar!!
    1. reduce sugar in recipes-- I almost always do half the first time I make something and go from there
    2. alternative desserts: fruit, popcorn, homemade pudding, homemade ice cream
    3. less sugar may taste a bit bland at first, but your body will adjust and get used to it. 
    4. when you have a sugar craving, eat nuts.  They have fats that are good for you and make you feel full and full for longer than if you grabbed a cookie. 
    5. After awhile making recipe with 1/2 sugar, try 1/3 sugar and see how that goes. 
    6. Sugar is metabolized the same way as alcohol in your body.  It gives you the same type of ‘high’ that alcohol does. it also puts the same strain on your liver that metabolizing alcohol does. being addicted to sugar is the same as being an alcoholic! you are doing the same thing to your body with sugar or alcohol.
  11. Dealing with Cost
    1. Lots of things in the healthier eating realm are more expensive.  
    2. Learn to offset cost of expensive things with cheap healthy ingredients:
      1. rice
      2. beans
      3. potatoes
      4. homemade chicken broth
      5. cabbage
      6. cauliflower
    3. Things with a base of the above ingredients, such as casseroles and soups, are a great way to stretch the more expensive foods
    4. Buy whole chickens and cut up. Use leftover bones to make broth
    5. Don’t buy cereal for breakfast (except for special occasions!) 
      1. make oatmeal (the kind from oats, not instant-- that stuff is expensive!)
      2. make coffee cakes or muffins the night before (make big batches and freeze) 
      3. Make pancakes-- freeze leftovers to toast for breakfast another day
      4. eggs and toast
    6. By making homemade things, save money over buying the same healthy option at the store
    7. Use money saved from cutting out soda and other unhealthy foods to buy more expensive healthy ingredients
    8. Eat out less, save money, use as above
    9. Redefine convenience foods from frozen processed foods  or eating out to things like Bob’s Red Mill Alphabet Soup Mix, tuna fish, homemade frozen foods, spaghetti
  12. Dealing with picky eaters
    1. It is hard work, it takes dedication, resolve and patience
    2. Cut sugar out of child’s diet. 
    3. Inundate them with the rejected food. Put it in everything. Serve it (in a different way) at every meal. 
    4. Require kids to eat what you serve-- don’t back down and make them something special.  If they’re not eating it, don’t push it-- they’ll get hungry enough eventually.  :-) 
      1. Some people serve the same thing over and over at each meal until the child eats it.  I haven’t done that much.  If the child is hungry any time before the next meal, the only thing he can have is the food he didn’t eat.  But I don’t usually serve dinner for breakfast, although I have friends who have with success.  
    5. Explain why you are eating these foods.  Some foods we don’t like, but we eat them anyway because they are good for us and make our bodies healthy.  
      1. Be honest with kids if you don’t like something, too.  If they see you eating spinach even though you don’t like it, they will be more inclined to also eat something they don’t like. 
  13. Final Thoughts
    1. Remember, try not to make all the changes at once-- this will be too overwhelming.  Do one step at a time. 
    2. Some steps are harder than others
    3. Do what is right for your family. Do the best you can.  Don’t compare yourself to others. 
    4. Have friends that are doing this too-- encourage each other!
    5. Don’t be so strict that you can’t go anywhere or do anything.  Be realistic.
    6. Have standards within your house and ones for when you are out. (ex. will not bring oreos into the house, but if you have 1 or 2 at a party, it’s ok.) 
    7. Educate your children about the changes you are making to your diet. They will grow up understanding, not just wanting to rebel when they leave the house. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Pan Dinners

I have been trying to simplify my life.  (I kind of laugh as I write this, because I feel like there is no possible way to simplify my life enough, and also because as soon as I simplify one area, I usually end up complicating another area!)

One area of my life that has been complicated, time consuming and sometimes stressful is dinner. Chris takes leftovers to work for lunch most days, so I cook something different every night. I also like to have a store of leftovers to offer for lunch and possibly dinner on the weekends.  This store lightens my load a bit on the weekends and frees up some family time.  :-)

That being said, I have been trying to simplify my dinner routine, at least a few nights a week, by prepping something that is all in one pan or pot (or crock pot).  I can throw it all into the pan and walk away, letting it cook.

Tonight, I seared two chicken breasts, added two cups of rice, two cups of milk, two cups of water (I would have used chicken broth if I had any), five cut up carrots and a bag of frozen corn (we did eight dozen this year!). I salted it, peppered it, garlic powdered it, and walked away.  (Well, I turned on the stove first!)  The prep time to do all this (including cutting the chicken breasts off the whole chicken) took about fifteen minutes. Dinner will take about an hour to cook.  While I would normally spend about an hour and fifteen minutes in the kitchen, now I am only spending 15.  I can use the extra hour before dinner to clean up, finish up school for the day, play a game with my kids, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, bathe the kids, type a blog post,... the possibilities are endless! (I don't think I could get ALL that done in one hour, but a few of those items will be attainable!)  :-P

Some other recipes I can think of that are one pan:
Vegetable Soup, or any soup really
Beans and Rice
Hog Maw Cabbage Rolls

Can you think of any good dishes like these? I am always looking for new ones!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pancake Lunch


I've been thinking of you, just haven't had time/ made time to sit down and type.

Today I made this puffy oven pancake recipe for lunch. I have been struggling with lunches recently in particular because now that it is chilly, I want something hot for lunch.  And also, there's the whole wheat conundrum about which I still haven't come to a conclusion.  Oh, and I ran out of yeast!  You read that correctly.  For awhile, I was out of yeast so I could not make bread.  Wow, was THAT a bummer!  I still haven't made bread, actually, despite having acquired yeast.

Today we had no bread and no leftovers.  We had already had oatmeal for breakfast, and I made the kids eggs yesterday for lunch.  I also didn't want to stuff them full of sugar!

This recipe was really simple, didn't have any sugar aside from what was in the asian pear that I used, had eggs and cheese in it that would provide some protein to keep those little tummies full, and it was warm, so it made my cold self happy.

I enjoyed it.  The kids, for the most part, enjoyed it too, in their own ways-- Ellie, eating each part separately; Sam, rolling his up like a taco; and Ben ate his begrudgingly, despite not liking asian pear and also voiced some dislike of the cheese with this recipe.

Anyway, if you are looking for a quick, nourishing, low/ no sugar option for lunch that doesn't involve bread, try this recipe!  It's also a good breakfast.  It came together quickly-- I made the batter before the oven was even finished preheating, and the pears were quick to cut up and about 3 min in the pan.

Have a great day!