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Category Archives: Shopping Healthy

10 Reasons to Cut out Processed Food

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100daysofrealfood.com has a great list of the reasons we should cut processed food out of our diets! It’s clear, concise, and leaves no room for excuses! :)

As Dr. Jana says, if it’s made in a plant-don’t eat it; if it’s made from a plant-consume it! (I’m paraphrasing of course! :))

Here’s a little snipet of the post:

  1. Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.
  2. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.
  3. Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life

If you would like to read the rest of the top 10 reasons, click here.

Quick and Healthy Snacks

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Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that frustrate us. For some people, it’s the dreaded WHAT’S FOR DINNER?? question. For me, it’s WHAT AM I GOING EAT IN BETWEEN LUNCH AND DINNER? question.

Snacks are many times one of the hardest things for me to plan. It should be easy but many times I overcomplicate the easy things! :)  Currently, there are quite a few things I cannot eat due to my current eating plan so it makes it very necessary for me to plan. That’s why I decided to make a list of possible snack combinations.

There is nothing complicated about these snacks and I realize I am no genius for listing them all out here. But hopefully this will make my snack planning, and yours,  a little less frustrating!

1. Apple and Almond Butter
2. Banana and a handful of Almonds
3. Turkey Lettuce wrap (2 turkey lunchmeats, 2 leaves romaine, & 2 slices tomato)
4. Cucumber and 1-2 small goat cheese slices
5. Larabar
6. Yogurt with (unsalted) sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
7. Celery and Almond Butter
8. Smoothie (Pretty Purple Protein Smoothie)
9. Frozen strawberries slightly thawed-(if you haven’t tried this, you really should-it’s yummmmy!) and plain yogurt with agave nectar
10. Small salad with sunflower seeds or other nut
11. Fresh Berries Mix (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry) drizzled with agave nectar and topped with crushed almonds

So what about you? What is your favorite quick and healthy snack?

Rainier Cherries truly are Nature’s Candy

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I am not a cherry fan. They are just about the only fruit that never calls my attention. However, as I was shopping at Publix the other day I saw these little cuties-the rainier cherry. The box says they are nature’s candy. I was quite skeptical since they are afterall—cherries.

Boy was I wrong! These bad boys are sweet as they come and they do taste like candy! The only downfall is that they do need to be pitted but the seed is so small you can just eat around it. :)

Apparently these are only available here in TN for a few weeks out of the year.

If you are looking to escape from the same ole strawberry, banana, or apple snack-give rainier cherries a try! You won’t be disappointed!

By the way, the are on BOGO right now at Publix (about $3.00 per carton) and you don’t have to buy 2 to get that price.

Note: Cherries are part of the dirty dozen so whenever possible buy these organic. :)

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

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UPDATE: You can now find even more healthified recipes & tips at www.healthynbalanced.com.

I would love to be able to buy all organic produce but honestly, it just is not within my budget. However, there are a few things…12 to be exact…that I absolutely recommend that you buy organic due to the high amount of pesticides and chemicals used on these fruits & veggies. I have this list taped to the outside of my coupon file folder so I always have it handy when I’m shopping!

THE DIRTY DOZEN

1. Peaches

2. Apples

3. Sweet Bell Peppers

4. Celery

5. Nectarines

6. Strawberries

7. Cherries

8. Kale

9. Lettuce

10. Grapes (imported)

11. Carrots

12. Pears

I also want to share with you the list of the 15 cleanest veggies & fruits. Personally, I do not buy the organic version of these.

1. Onions

2. Avocados

3. Sweet Corn (Frozen)

4. Pineapples

5. Mangoes

6. Asparagus

7. Sweet Peas

8. Kiwis

9. Cabbage

10. Eggplant

11. Papayas

12. Watermelons

13. Broccoli

14. Tomatoes

15. Sweet Potatoes

The Great Cooking Oil Debate

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One of the hardest thing about having a healthy lifestyle is figuring out what is actually healthy ? One day you hear that butter is better. The next day it’s margarine. One day you hear that sugar is bad. The next day it’s Sweet-n-Low and Equal. There is so much contradicting information out there that it makes it very hard to figure out what it is that I need to be putting into my body if I am trying to live a healthy life.

Personally, I try my best to stay away from processed and packaged foods and stick to meats, fruits & veggies, and pretty much anything in its raw form. Please note that I said I try my best. I am not perfect on this and I certainly have my moments of falling into the temptation of  Cheese Nachos from the local Mexican Restaurant or Gravy and Biscuits from Hardee’s. I do however try my best to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible.

One of the great debates is on cooking oil. There are different opinions out there about which oils are good to cook with and which ones to stay away from. I decided to make it easy on you and briefly share a little snippet of what I have learned about each one.

Olive Oil: Due to low smoke point of olive oil this is not a good option to use when cooking. (The smoke point is the point in which the oil begins to break down and lose all of its nutritional values.) Read more on this here.

Coconut Oil: This is a great option to be used for everything! You can use it for cooking in the oven or on stove top. You can also eat this raw in smoothies! I will be doing a separate post at a later date on the benefits of this great oil.

Canola Oil: This oil is super processed. For me, that is enough reason not to use it. However, there are plenty of health concerns such as heart problems linked to canola oil as well.  If you want more details. Dr. Axe lays it all out right here.

In my house, I cook with butter and coconut oil (and occasionally grapeseed oil). I never use olive oil to cook; only to drizzle over salads, cooked meats, etc.

If you have a recipe that calls for canola oil or margarine; it can always be easily replaced with coconut oil, butter, or even applesauce (if you are baking).

My Can’t Live Without Kitchen Gadget

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With all this healthy, raw, and natural cooking that I am finding my way into, I found that a Food Processor is a complete necessity. Okay, so maybe it’s not a necessity, but it definitely opens the door to a whole new world of fun and interesting recipes! So far I have only used this two times, but I have a lot of recipes I am going to be trying out that require it so I am sure that I am going to wear this baby out!! Now, my first choice for a food processor is the Vitamix Professional 500 Series, but with a price tag of about $550, this is not within my budget. I went on amazon.com and happened upon this gem of a food processor. The Black & Decker FP1600B 8-Cup Food Processor which is currently priced at $29.95 on amazon.com is definitely within my budget. I have listed the pro’s and con’s below but all in all-this is a must-have and I highly recommend it, especially for those who are either pinching their pennies or new to the healthy eating lifestyle.

Pro’s:

* Does exactly what it is supposed to do-processes food

* It doesn’t take more than about 30 seconds to finely process nuts

* Price

Cons:

*This baby is pretty loud. For me, it’s not a big deal since my blender is equally loud. However, if you have sleeping children in the next room or your hubby is trying to watch some TV, this could be a problem.

*Depending on what you are mixing, you may have to stop the processor, remove the lid, and scoop the sides to ensure everything is equally mixed.  For example, I had to do this when I made     Strawberry Sherbet but I did not have to do it when I made the filling for the No-Bake Chilled Double-Chocolate Torte.

* Instead of pushing the button for it to continually run until the food is smooth or to the consistency you want it be, it does much better if you push the pulse button a few times in a row instead.

Note: This is an unsolicited review. I do not receive any sort of compensation for sharing this with you.

7 Tips to Shopping Healthy (On The Cheap)

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  1. Shop on the outside aisles. Try your best to stay out of the inside aisles where all the tempting processed junk food is sold.
  2.  Buy produce that is IN SEASON and/or on sale.
  3. Sign up for home-mailings and coupons for organic and natural products.  Click below to check out this great list that Famliy Health and Nutrition has compiled.  http://www.family-health-and-nutrition.com/healthy-living-resources.html
  4. Buy in bulk, preferably when on sale. (I buy a lot of ingredients such as flours, shredded coconut, etc on Amazon.com.)
  5. Buy meat when it is on sale and freeze whatever you will not be using immediately. *Note: Most Wal-Marts now carry organic chicken and ground turkey at reasonable prices. Be sure to check your local Wal-Mart!
  6. Go in with a few family members or friends and buy in bulk.
  7. Cowpool- Go in with a few family members or friends and buy half a cow or a whole cow.
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