Monday, May 16, 2011

The Magic of Spinach!

I'm very proud to say that my kids have taken to this new "clean eating" lifestyle very well - much better than my grumbling husband. Last night I whipped up something in the kitchen that was clearly a turning point for all of us. Spinach Pesto! Who would have guessed that this little green wonder could have caused so much excitement! On the menu was a roasted pork tenderloin (just tossed in the oven with some herbs, garlic, sea salt, & peppercorns for 30 min, covered with foil to keep it tender & moist), steamed broccoli and pasta shells that were tossed with the magical Spinach Pesto!  For my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants recipe for this, click on the newly added recipe page.

I asked my oldest to try the pasta to see if she liked it and she did. Then, to my amazement, my youngest tried a bite and asked for more as well. Everyone ate the pesto pasta and clamoured for more! What a great way for kids to eat spinach! Mine also contained heart-healthy walnuts, garlic and Organic EVOO.
I'm proud of my kids for trying something new, something green, and something kind of fancy! It's been 8+ months since they've had a chicken nugget, fish stick or a Fig Newton - this August will be a year! Way to go girls!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snack & Birthday Party Alternatives

I just wrote this article for my mom's club. Just felt like sharing...

Many of you know that I recently converted from eating processed, non-Organic foods to a diet of clean, Organic fruits & veggies, grass-fed meats & sustainable seafood. Along with losing ten pounds, I feel better, have very few headaches and loads more energy. I’m not here today to try and convert you, but to try to give you some simple snack options for you and your children that can give you more energy and possibly even stop the screamy tantrums that happen after your kid leaves a birthday party after consuming a juice box, cake, ice cream and a goodie bag full of candy!

We’ve all fallen into the trap of putting out the usual suspects when we have playdates or parties at our house, but you don’t have to succumb to the standards – you can make a change and your kids will eat it!

Healthy Snack Options:
Whole Grain Goldfish
Seaport Edamame in Pods
Wholly Guacamole Snack packs (or make your own)
GoGo Squeeze Applesauce
Pineapple wedges
Mini apples
Bowl of fresh blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
Pirate Booty popcorn
Hard-boiled eggs
Plain Greek Yogurt, sweetened with Raw Honey
Raw, unsalted almonds, cashews, hazelnuts
Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels
Tribe Origins Hummus w/ Veggie sticks (carrots, jicama, celery, bell peppers)
Pumpkin seeds
Refried beans or homemade salsa with tortilla chips
Almond butter or Natural peanut butter with apple wedges
Simply Gogurt
Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
Whole-grain waffles with nut butter
Organic Tortilla chips, Boulder Canyon Rice & Bean chips, Food Should Taste Good chips

Party Alternatives

  • Juice boxes are convenient but contain way too much sugar, try mini bottled water, Horizon Milk or Honest Kids drink pouches (My kids take their own Honest Kids juice or water to a party)
  • Never use frosting from a can – it contains hydrogenated oils which are trans fats, amongst other chemicals
  • Try serving turkey &/or veggie subs, instead of pizza, big bowls of natural popcorn, homemade pasta salad (instead of the boxed kind) with nitrate-free pepperoni, large green salad with homemade dressing (6 T EVOO, 2 T Balsamic vinegar, sea salt, pepper, 1 t Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove).
  • Goody bags filled with non-food treats, like yo-yo’s, crayons, match box cars, princess jewelry, etc…

Remember, the longer the ingredient list, the more processed the “food” item is. Try to eat more protein and veggies and less carbs and sugar! Everyone will be happy and your pants will get a little looser too!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe Page Added!!

I'm excited to announce the addition of my recipe page! There's only a few there now, but stay tuned, because I'll be adding more clean, whole food recipes every week - especially quick dinners!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vacation Eating...Lessons Learned

In April, we went on vacation to South Padre Island, TX. I stressed about our trip for weeks. What was I going to eat? Where could I find local, Organic food? How was I going to maintain my new healthy eating habits whilst eating carb-laden Mexican food? I mean I really stressed. I thought about shipping a box of food from my pantry to our rented beach house. But then I thought that was just too extreme. I resolved to just "be where I was." Meaning I would just eat as everyone else did in the area. How did that work out, you ask? Not so well.
The first few days were OK, but by the 3rd day, I was feeling the worst I'd felt in years. I had extreme vertigo, congestion, lethargy, stomach issues, and headaches. I was on vacation at the beach, in a beautiful house, steps from the ocean...and felt like crap. Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe it was the fajitas from god-knows-where, the chicken thighs from not-so-happy chickens, the cheeseburger from What-a-Burger, the fruit and veggies laden with pesticides or the drinking water that had a funny smell to it.  Whatever it was, I didn't feel good. Even with all the prep I had done, I still managed to feel horrible. Funny thing is, two days after I got home, I started back with my organic, grass-fed foods and immediately started to feel better!
Maybe there isn't a connection, maybe there is, but I'm betting on the latter.
The strange thing is we noticed there are hundreds of doctor offices, therapy centers and children's therapy centers in the area. I mean on EVERY block! Why so many? Is everyone sick here?  Why is autism so high here (it's a statistic)? Is it the Mexican diet? The environment? Everyone is my husband's family uses those Knorr Bouillon cubes to cook rice, beans, salsa and soups. Those things are like little cubes of poison! Throw them out NOW!
I've had a few folks ask me what I was going to do while I traveled. So, I'll share. I packed healthy snacks and sandwiches for the plane ride (turkey sammies, almonds, gluten-free pretzels, organic apples, & lots of water). Saved us money too! When we arrived I found a local store with lots of Organic options. I purchased as many healthy things as I could for the week. I bought natural peanut butter and jelly for the girls and a few Organic fruit and veggies. But I couldn't find nitrate-free meats, sausage, lunchmeat or grass-fed options anywhere. I asked the butcher at the natural foods store if he knew how the meat was processed or where it came from and he looked at me and said "I dunno." Briefly I tried to explain what I was looking for and that I wanted meat from grass-fed animals and he said that cows are supposed to eat grain - that's how they get them fat for us to eat! WHAT!!!!!!!?????  The ignorance and stupidity astounded me. But I see a parallel too. If grain fattens cows, then it's fattening us too!

So, I'm on a new lifestyle path. My goal is to walk every day, eat as little sugar as possible, cut out as many carbs as I can and amp up the protein and veggies. I'm going to incorporate more raw food, fermented foods and more water. This is my new way of eating, every day. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. I've been doing it for a few weeks now and I've noticed more energy, less sugar cravings, a few pounds lost and regularity. Ok, getting a little personal, but that's a big thing for someone who suffered from IBS years ago.
As a society, we eat WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR! I realized that's what made me overweight these last 10 years. I was eating fat-free everything and cereals, pop-tarts, baked goods and sandwiches. Carbs, sugar and more sugar! If you look at the label on a fat-free item and look at its full-fat counterpart, you'll see added sugar in the fat-free version, mostly in the form of high fructose corn sugar! The evil HFCS!
So, the next time you go shopping, read the ingredient label, not the fat content. Fat is good, keeps you fuller longer. Sugar and high carbs is what's going to make you fat...I'm the poster girl for that campaign!