Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grocery List!

Thanks to the many who commented (on Facebook) on my blog! I sometimes think I'm just writing this for myself and two or three people. I'm thankful for the feedback! So, if you're ready to make the change - it's time to go shopping. I've typed up a typical list of what I keep on hand. Keep in mind, I have a 4 and 5 1/2 year old, so you may or may not want to keep Goldfish on hand!
Pantry List:
Skippy or Jiff Natural Peanut Butter
Whole Grain Pasta, like Barilla
tuna fish in water
Rice Select Arborio & Texmati Brown Rice
Annie's Mac & Cheese, All Stars & O's (like Spaghettios)
Muir Glen Organic Canned Tomatoes
Cans of Lite Coconut Milk (to make Thai soup!)
Raw, unsalted Almonds, Cashews, pistachios
Organic Chicken Broth in boxes
Multi Grain Cheerios, Grape Nuts
McCann's Steel Cut Oatmeal
Quinoa, Barley
Organic Basmati
Synder's Organic Pretzels
Organic Tortilla Chips (regular chips are made with nasty oils, these taste much better!)
Pirate Booty
Food Should Taste Good chips
Organic Breadcrumbs (or make your own by toasting stale bread that you run through a food processor, spritz with EVOO, some herbs and S&P)
Raw Apple Cider vinegar
Organic Raisins
Flat Out Flatbread
Whole Grain Bread, Ezekiel 4:9 bread
Bags of lentils, black beans, pinto beans, no cans, too much salt
Organic bouillon, chicken base (regular stuff has hydrolyzed proteins = yuck)
Raw honey
Balsamic vinegar
Zoe Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Amazon)
Whole wheat flour and Spelt Flour

Organic milk
Organic juices, Honest Kids juice boxes
Real butter
Greek Yogurt, plain
Organic celery, carrots, blueberries, grapes, spinach, lettuce, kale, bell peppers, apples, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower
Organic applesauce
Onions, shallots, ginger, garlic
Low Sugar jelly, Not sugar free which has artificial sweeteners
Hellman's Lite mayo, lots of mustards
Cage free eggs, bigger, less cholesterol and more yummy nutrients
Nitrate free lunchmeats, bacon, sausage
Whole blocks of cheese for grating or slicing
real maple syrup

sustainable seafood, like shrimp, tilapia and Wild Alaskan Salmon (google sustainable seafood - there's so much wrong with the fishing industry - overfarming, pollution, farm-raised garbage)
Whole Organic chicken
Pork tenderloin
some frozen peas
frozen fruits for smoothies
organic sausage, nitrate free

I shop at Super Target, Wegman's, Safeway and sometimes Harris Teeter. I also buy some things from Amazon like Celtic Sea Salt and the EVOO. I get my supplements from (Vitamin D3, Coenzyme B-complex, digestive enzymes).
Right now, in the winter, it's hard to get certain veggies without paying through the nose for them, so I'm trying to buy seasonally. I ate a lot of butternut squash this winter. I also froze green beans that I bought last summer at the Farmer's Market.
I don't have a lot of grass-fed beef or pork yet. That's a hurdle I have to climb in two ways, it's much more expensive and I can't seem to like the taste of grass-fed beef. Grass-fed Pork and Chicken does taste better though. I just joined an Amish farm and I'm loving the grass-fed chicken and eggs!!
A good book to check out from the library is Nourishing Traditions or buy it from Amazon. It will really open your eyes up about the way we approach food these days. Lots of real food recipes. I've made a ton of turkey, chicken and beef stock lately using their recipes. A little trick is to add a splash or so of vinegar to really bring out the marrow and make your stocks super gelatinous - good for the body!

You may buy some of these ingredients and wonder, "what the heck do I make with this?!!" I starting subscribing to numerous healthy food blogs, "liking" Facebook pages of Organic cooks, getting Cooking Light magazine, Food Network mag and Natural Health magazine. I read whenever I can - stoplights, waiting for water to boil, and sometimes I'm up till midnight reading!
Ok - I think that's it - I'm going off memory of what's in the kitchen, so hopefully I remembered it all. Feel free to ask questions!
Eat Local! Eat Real! Get Healthy!
P.S. I make no claim that this list is perfect. Some whole foodies would scoff at my Skippy Natural Peanut Butter and Hellman's mayo, but let's face it - unless you have nothing going on in your life, it's hard to make everything from scratch. We strive to do the best we can, right??

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nutrition Seminar & Pantry Exposed

So much to share with you this week!! I joined a local Meetup of Whole Foodies and went to my first meetup on Sprouting Grains & Beans. I was pretty nervous driving into Fairfax, not knowing what to expect. The crowd was eclectic for sure! But I listened, took notes and got the heck out of there! Basically, here's what I learned: our bodies have a hard time digesting grains and beans, they contain phytic acid which can prohibit our body's ability to absorb certain minerals and nutrients and lastly, sprouting them gives them a nutritional edge and creates a sort of "super food" that wasn't there before. Plus, people with mild gluten intolerences can eat sprouted grains. Additionally, I learned that the Uncle Ben's, Success and other rices in my pantry are nutritionally void and over processed. Out they go!  Our instructor had soaked some organic brown rice in whey and water and cooked it for us to taste. Another person brought in some black bean soup (from beans he had soaked as well). They were so yummy. A little bowl of heaven, with a touch of cultured butter and sea salt. Simple. Tasty. Whole. I still have much I want to learn about sprouting grains and beans. And my next adventure will be growing my own sprouts and wheat grass! More on that later...I have some research to do!

Now on to my next topic...
Today I decided to clean out every food item from my kitchen. I emptied the pantry and cupboards. I read every label and tossed anything that listed the "dirty" ingredients I have come to despise. You may recognize a few items below and think "what could possibly be wrong with Crystal Light, Campbell's soup or even Metamucil?" Well, I'll tell you - A LOT! Every item my counter and even more that was in my fridge contains items that are chemically made, genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides, and transported hundreds of miles, calling itself food. Well, wake up America - this stuff is NOT food. There's not one ounce of nutrition in any of it. I cringed as I read the labels, thinking to myself, no wonder I used to suffer from daily headaches, fatigue, and now have a chronic illness. So, here's what I tossed:

  • The Crystal Light has Aspartame, along with the Metamucil, which I bought to help with tummy troubles (artificial sweeteners can actually make them worse)
  • The Good Earth dinners, Pasta Roni, Campbell's Soup, Progresso soup, Lipton soup and Chunky soup all have hydrolyzed soy, vegetable or corn proteins (these mimic MSG and are very bad for your nervous system), some of those have partially hydrogenated veg. oils (or trans fats)
  • The seasoning packets - think McCormick's Beef Stew seasoning, brown gravy mix, hollandaise mix packet all have MSG, hydrolyzed proteins and disgusting amounts of sodium. One packet had 460 mg per serving and a packet was 10 servings. That's 4600 mg of sodium your adding to your pan of pot roast or gravy, double your daily allowance.
  • The worst offender in the pile - Knorr Bouillon cubes. They contained partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed proteins, and 1200 mg sodium per cube. Those things should be illegal!!
  • Pudding - partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Sugar free Jello - aspartame
  • Slim Fast - aspartame and artificial colors (stomach irritants and neurologically damaging)
  • Heinz Ketchup - High Fructose corn syrup (so glad they make a HFCS-free version now!)
Basically everything here should be on your naughty list. These are things I used to consume weekly, if not daily. I'm so glad that I have educated myself and found friends that also support this lifestyle. I just wish that this information was more mainstream and that eating real food was a nationwide phenomenon. Instead, large corporations are creating our foods in a lab, adding a dash of this and a splash of that to make it last longer, make it cheaper and make themselves rich. They don't care about your health. I just found this website called and they have dozens of campaigns you can support under Sustainable Food. I voted on the ones I liked and hopefully I can help make a difference. I'm thinking of starting a campaign too. Just need to find the right way to go about it. Till next time...
Eat Local. Eat Real. Get Healthy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Test Results Are In...Told My Doctor to Take a Hike!

So, I finally got my annual blood work done - the full workup with a cholesterol screen as well as a Vitamin D test. According to my doc, I failed both. I'll give her the Vitamin D botch, I mean it's the dead of winter and I haven't seen the sun in months, but not the cholesterol screening.
Here's something interesting I learned about Vitamin D. Most of us are deficient these days. It's hard to get the required amount from food (milk, eggs, fish, cod liver oil). The best source comes from when our skin converts sunlight into a usable product. Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth, since it is required for the proper absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the body--both also essential to the health of the skeleton. Without adequate levels of vitamin D in childhood, bone deformities can develop--a condition known as rickets. In adults, lack of adequate vitamin D can reduce bone density, leading to osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fracture. Scientists are also investigating vitamin d's role in preventing a slew of cancers and MS.
My doctor wanted me to take a prescribed dose of 50,000 units per week for 12 weeks. I asked what the pill was and found out that it's a synthetic drug with fillers and artificial colors. Blech! That's exactly what I'm trying to get away from. I'm so happy that my neighbor, Amy Butchko at Wellness Works for You, stepped in and told me to ask about the drug. She recommended I look for a food-grade-based vitamin D3. I found one on that was even on sale!  My doc is letting me try this route for a couple of months to see if it helps.
Now, the cholesterol...I've always had a slightly elevated cholesterol level (due to hypothyroidism). It's hovered around the 200-229 range. My breakdown this month was this:
224 overall
66 HDL - Up 13 pts since last year!!!   This is GOOD!
145 LDL - Up 4 pts since last year - not so great. Should be below 100, or so they say.
64 Triglyceride level - well below the range of less than 150!!!
And with those numbers, my doctor wanted me to go on those nasty statin drugs. I said "hell no!" I've only been on this new path for 5 months (with a 2-week break over Christmas) and exercising a few days a week. I still want to try for 6 more months and see if I can make a bigger difference in those numbers.  I read a great article on Dr. Mercola's website about the real truth behind our cholesterol numbers and that eased my stress a LOT!!  Read this!!

It may require you to sign in, but you can opt out at anytime, but I love the daily newsletters and health info. I'm not trying to give medical advice here, but you may not want to blindly trust your doctor. Talk to them and ask them if there are other options. Some offices are so pill happy and some even get kickbacks for prescribing certain medicines. You can make a difference by making some simple changes to your diet.
I'm happy about the 13 point increase in my HDL's. That just proves that I'm doing something right and making a difference with my health!
Ta-ta till next time and remember to READ THOSE LABELS!!