Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Menu Planning Ideas

Many of my friends and followers have asked for a list of meals that we eat. I finally put them down on paper. Perhaps it will help me too when it comes to planning our meals! I've started off with just our Fall dinners because I am trying to eat what is in season and available locally. A lot of the dishes are one-pot meals and savory soups. I've listed the recipe source when necessary, but if you have a question on how I prepare something, don't hesitate to ask. Bon appetit!

Fall Menu Planning Ideas:

Main Dish
Chicken/Shrimp Pad Thai (Food
Roast Lemon Chicken in Deep Dish Baker
Chicken Enchiladas
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Tacos with bell peppers & onions
Pot roast Meatloaf (Jamie Oliver)
Ribolita Soup
Butternut Squash/Apple Soup
Tilapia (Veracruz-style, pan-seared and panko crusted)
Broiled Salmon (Asian style, honey/ginger, mustard/honey sauce)
Seared Sea Scallops
Crab Cakes
Pork Tenderloin
Pork Chops
Garlicky Veg Stir-fry (w/ pork, chicken, shrimp)
Chicken Cassoulet (
Beef Stew
Beef & Barley Soup
Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes
Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child’s)
White Chicken Chili (Tosca Reno)
Spaghetti & Meatballs (Family recipe)

Steamed Broccoli
Roasted Vegetables with herbs and EVOO (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower)
Quinoa with grilled zucchini and feta
Steamed green beans
Sautéed Mushrooms
Orzo with Feta
Raw Kale Salad (Mark Bittman)
Braised Kale
Braised Collard Greens
Brown Rice Pilaf
Couscous with veggies
Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Beans & Greens
Roasted Butternut Squash
Sautéed Sweet Bell Peppers

 Until next time...Eat Real Food!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Calories in, does not equal calories out

Did you know that counting calories is not an effective weight loss tool? We used to think that if we counted the calories in our food and then counted the calories used while exercising, that a weight loss deficit would occur. Sounds simple and easy, but losing weight is a very complicated process that can overwhelm even an educated nutrition or weight loss specialist.
The truth is that a calorie from one type of food is not the same as another. Meaning if you ate 100 calories from one of those 100-calorie bags of cookies, and ate 100 calories from say a teaspoon of peanut butter, you body is going to metabolize them differently. The same holds true for fructose and fruit, if you ate an apple, raisins, dates, apricots or even a banana, you're going to put yourself at risk for increased weight because of the way our bodies metabolize fructose. This is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate.
That doesn't mean you should eliminate all fruit, but you should definitely restrict yourself to 1-2 servings a day. Then there's the other fructose, the high fructose corn syrup that is chemically made in a some lab and added to thousands of food products - even those touted as being healthy, like Special K. HFCS is an evil ingredient that you should start avoiding all at costs, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

I'm pretty sure that I've been able to keep my weight off and even continue to lose more weight because I have completely eliminated this ingredient from my diet. I'm now down another dress size. I started at a size 16 last Christmas and now I'm a size 12 and I'm enjoying a new wardrobe of tighter jeans, definition in my stomach muscles and a flat tummy! I never thought it was possible, but I am proof that you can go from being a Pop-Tart queen to a svelte mama in just 8 months! I made a goal of 15-20 more pounds by next summer and I know I can do it!

I'm excited that I've got a few friends joining me on the this journey. I'm curious to know if anyone else is embarking on a clean eating lifestyle. Leave a comment and let me know and if I can offer any help or suggestions. I'm working on a big list of meal ideas to help with meal planning. That was my biggest hurdle - planning meals in advance to avoid the last minute take-out, convenience foods and fast-food. Now, I don't eat that way and it has forced me to start thinking and planning ahead for dinner. It also helps to have a well-stocked pantry to have those special ingredients on hand. So look for that list to be coming soon.
Until next time...Eat Real Food!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Personal Clean Eating List

I've had a few friends ask me for a shopping list, so here is a sample of my clean eating choices. Let me know if you have any questions!

Clean Eating Grocery List
Grass-fed Beef (eat 1-2 times a week)
Chuck pot roast, sirloin steak, flank steak, T-bone, 90% lean ground beef

Grass-fed Pork
Canadian bacon, tenderloin, pork shoulder, sausage & bacon should be nitrate-free

Pastured Poultry (free range)
Chicken, turkey, pastured eggs

Seafood (2 times a week)
Crabmeat, haddock, lobster, sea scallops, wild shrimp, wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, trout, mussels

Dairy – Should be Organic or Raw
Yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, cheese

Nuts & Seeds – Should be RAW and unsalted (not roasted)
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds

Grains – Limited
Brown Rice, Whole Grain bread, Quinoa (great protein source), whole grain pasta (limited)

Vegetables – Unlimited! Choose Organic when possible, choose local & farmer’s markets over the grocery store (If you can’t afford all Organic, refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists at the end)
Dark leafy greens like Kale, Collards, broccoli, zucchini red leaf and green leaf lettuce are good choices. Try new veggies you haven’t eaten before like artichokes, eggplant, Swiss chard, okra, or Bok Choy!

Fruit – Choose Organic and limit to 2 servings a day to keep sugar levels down (Refer to Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists below)

Beans – They are best dried or frozen.  If canned, choose Organic to get away from BPA-lined cans and excess sodium. Rinse and drain canned beans.
Black beans, garbanzo, white beans, navy beans and lentils are some of my faves.

Try to make your own salad dressings by keeping Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, lemons and garlic on hand.
Choose pre-made dressings that are full-fat and not fat-free (they have added High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Some brands to try: Newman’s Own, Annie’s Naturals, organic store brands
High Fructose Corn Syrup Free Ketchup, BBQ sauce and mayo
Herbs are easy to grow in window sills or gardens – grow your own to avoid pesticides and use daily!
Sea Salt (instead of Iodized salt)
Organic Low sodium chicken broth in a box, not a can
Chili peppers, red pepper flakes, Turmeric, and curry can add great depth and flavor.

Olive oil, grapeseed oil, real butter, ghee, Coconut oil (no more canola or vegetable oils)
Fare-trade coffee, green tea, lots of fresh water (infused with fresh fruit or cucumber if you don’t like the taste)

Raw honey or Stevia is preferred, comes in liquid and crystals
Organic Cane sugar

Other Items I buy:
Steel-cut Oatmeal, Triscuits, Sprouted Ezekiel bread, Natural Almond Butter, Natural Peanut butter, Old-fashioned rolled oats, unbleached flour, True Whey Protein Powder, Raw Cocoa, Ground Flax seed,  Raw Maca Powder, Gogi berries, plain Cheerios for my kids, Greek Yogurt, Raw honey, Almond milk

My Daily Habits:
Upon waking up, I have a chewable probiotic, then a glass of lemon water.
Then, I work out on an empty stomach.
I start my day with a protein source like a 1 egg omelette with spinach and tomato or a protein shake. I include protein at every meal and loads of vegetables.
I eat my fruit by itself as an afternoon treat or sometimes right after dinner.
I juice in the afternoons using what I have on hand – spinach, cucumber, half apple, 2 carrots, cabbage, garlic, ginger, etc…
We don’t eat starches with dinner anymore. We eat a protein and 2-3 types of veggies. Sometimes I will add quinoa with dinner though.

To find a local farm, co-op, or Farmer's Market near you, visit For fun at picking your own berries, apples, veggies and more, visit

The following lists refer to vegetables and fruits that are either OK to eat in their conventional form (or non-Organic form) and those that it is best to choose the Organic version. The reason being is thin-skinned fruits like berries and apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides and you can’t wash off pesticides from a strawberry, they just soak it all up. But a banana or onion has a thicker skin and the pesticides can be washed away or the fruit/veggie doesn’t require as much pesticidal spray. It’s especially important to buy Organic versions when feeding young children, as their systems are affected much more intensely than an adult.

Clean 15:
1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapple
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (Domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Dirty Dozen: (If you can, always buy these items in their Organic form)
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (imported)
7. Grapes (imported)
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries (domestic)
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens

Ok, so that’s what I generally buy. You’ll notice there are no boxes of Pop-Tarts, bags of Cheez-its or frozen meals to pop in a microwave. It’s not a perfect diet and it’s not for everyone. You have to plan ahead, set aside time to prepare and cook your meals and plan your shopping around what’s in season. Eating a clean, healthy diet however will enhance your health, help you to lose weight and feel amazing. If you’re ready to get off medication or perhaps avoid taking some, try using food as medicine. It’s a lot cheaper than dozens of doctor’s visits and expensive prescriptions.

Until next time…Eat Real Food!