Posts tagged healthy diet
Just want all of you to know that I’ve expanded my offerings and started a new web site. All the delicious recipes you’ve found here will be moved over there, plus more new and exciting dishes.
This site also covers a lot about healthy living in general, going way beyond just food. It covers other physical aspects that can be affecting your health, as well as emotional, mental, energetic, and consciousness/spiritual patterns that could be affecting you experiencing radiant health.
Please visit and subscribe to my new web site Healthy Lifestyle Naturally
Coming in the new year my new book covering a 16-week program to regain and maintain vibrant health.
Blueberries are a rather maligned fruit. Until recent years you couldn’t even buy them in a supermarket. All you could find were products with blueberries in them. That all changed when blueberries were found to be a “superfood.” Who would have thought that the lowly blueberry would be near the top of the heap in antioxidants. They’re also high in vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, selenium, zinc, and iron.
Not only that, there have been studies that show that blueberries may protect the brain from aging diseases like Alzheimers. One study actually showed improvement in cognitive tests with just two weeks of high doses of blueberry juice. Now that’s a prescription I could follow.
North Carolina, where I live, is one of the biggest producers of blueberries in the nation. We have the perfect highly acidic soil and climate they seem to like. One of the first perma-crops we planted on our property were blueberries and this year they are really coming into their own. We have blueberries the size of quarters and an abundance of them.
Right now we’re just eating them fresh with a little maple yogurt; occasionally pairing them with strawberries. However, fresh blueberries are delicious in muffins and other quick breads, and we’ve made an amazing blueberry syrup by simply combining fresh berries and sweetener (Sucanat for us). It isn’t as thick as if you cook it, but it retains all those amazing nutrients and antioxidants.
One important thing to note is that organic blueberries have even higher amounts of nutrients. Domestic non-organic blueberries are listed as number 10 on the the dirty dozen list, so keeping them organic keeps you away from as many as 50 pesticides and give you even more of those desirable antioxidants!
Check to see if you can successfully grow blueberries in your area and plant a hedge of blueberries. They are attractive plants and will feed you better than a hedge of hollies will any day!
Recently my husband was reading all about the benefits of eating sauerkraut. This put a bee in his bonnet to make some, which he’s done many times before. Once he’d got the cabbage all ready to sit around and become kraut, he placed it on top of a small cabinet that houses all our containers of beans and grains.
Everything was fine until the third morning. My husband went to check on it and found that it had overflowed all over everything. Now this wouldn’t have been too bad if he’d had it on the countertop, but what we didn’t know is that “cooking” kraut is an excellent paint remover! Also, it is a great glue melter. So, alas and alack my little cabinet is now in need of major repairs. The plywood on one side separated into all its layers and buckled into large swollen areas; the top now looks like a disturbed lake; and even the shelves on the top half warped significantly. We’ve managed to re-glue some areas, however, it looks like we’re going to have to deconstruct it enough to replace one entire side panel, ugh.
So, warning. Place your fermenting kraut on a surface that can’t be damaged by it. The little cabinet will now be taken out to the storage area and the refinishing I was planning for later in the season will commence immediately. Luckily I have a plastic storage shelf I can put in its place for the duration of the refinishing or we’ve have containers of beans and grains setting everywhere, which we do at the moment.
Aside from that, kraut is a great food, highly nutritious, with many health benefits. It’s way better than any probiotic you can buy; helps boost the immune system; may help protect against flu virus. It is very easy to make. Here’s how we do it:
- 1 large crock pot, the ceramic part
- 1 plate that just fits the top of the crock pot, don’t leave air space as that will cause mold to develop
- Something to weigh the plate down. Right now we’re using a jar of grains, but have used jugs filled with water, too.
- You’ll need one large, or one and a half small heads of organic* cabbage. Something that will fill the crock up to within about 1-2” from the top.
- Coarsely shred about 2/3 to 3/4 of the cabbage. The other 1/3 to 1/4 finely shred. This seems to help the process get going quicker.
- Place the cabbage in the crock and fill it with enough water to cover it all completely, but not overflow.
- Place the plate on top, usually with the top side down and weigh down with whatever your using.
- Set it in a warm place.
- In 3 – 7 days you should have sauerkraut. The way you tell is by the smell and taste. If it smells like kraut then dig down below the surface just a little and taste it. Not done enough leave it a little longer until it is the sour flavor you like.
- We add the salt afterward. At one time we had a problem with the salt stopping the fermenting process.
Kraut Preparation Ideas
Just remember sauerkraut is best eaten raw. If you cook it you kill most if not all the beneficial bacteria. So, that being said, what’s your favorite way to eat sauerkraut?
*Organic works best, as the bacteria that causes the fermentation are still alive. Non-organic has been sprayed and may not produce a good product.
I think most of you saw the write up about Coke and Pepsi having to change their formula to stop using a carmel color that was contaminated with a known carcinogen. How many other foods are compromised in some way? Many more than we would like to acknowledge.
I’ve talked some about GMOs and how if you eat anything with non-organic corn, soy, canola, or cottonseed oil you’re probably eating GMO food. Now they’ve started with sugar beets!
We all got a good scare when they came out with the findings about BPA and I would have thought that all organic, natural, or “health” labelled foods would have changed can their lining immediately. It wasn’t that easy, though, and until last fall all the canning companies were still using a BPA plastic lining. I was shocked because I had been carefully buying organic tomato puree, only to find out that I was still getting BPA until just recently.
Unfortunately the canning companies were in a bind, as certain foods will leach the metal in the can into the product if you don’t line it. Tomatoes were especially problematic. They were researching frantically trying to find a product that would work under canning conditions and they finally found one last fall. So, at least for now, your organic tomato products are safer.
How can you keep up on all of this? Well it is definitely a task and one that I’m not perfect at, but you can visit the web site for Center for Food Safety, as well as download the app for you iPhone or iPod. Another site is Environmental Working Group. They also have an app that lists the dirty dozen; the 12 most pesticide laden foods, and the clean 15; those foods you don’t have to worry about buying organic (although it’s nice to support organic farmers as much as possible).
I know there are numerous other sites that have excellent information, as well, and as I find them and look them over for accuracy and non-sensationalism I’ll post them here. In today’s world eating healthy means more than just quitting junk food. It means being vigilant about what is in everything you put in your mouth.
I’ve recently started up a coaching business for a healthy lifestyle. I’m doing a pilot program first, with people I know, to see how well the information is received and if they can actually use it.
Last night I presented information about toxins in our food. It sometimes surprises me how little most people know about what they’re eating. These people are pretty sharp too, more aware than most. However, I found that one of them didn’t even know what GMO foods were and the others didn’t know the depths to which they have infiltrated our food system.
So, I want to pass on some info for you. GMOs are in almost all non-organic foods, and even some organic foods are starting to be contaminated. The big four that are causing all the problems are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed in all their various forms. Sugar beets are coming on strong now, too. At least one of these ingredients is in almost all pre-prepared, non-organic foods.
Just a year ago they were saying about 70% of all non-organic pre-prepared foods were contaminated, now that is nearly 95%. That’s a lot of GMO in our diet and we don’t really know what they could be doing to us.
I’m not as concerned with them splicing some other organism’s genes into my food (although I want to know if it is animal since I’m a strict vegetarian). What bothers me the most is how plants are either pesticide ready or already have pesticides in them.
In India they found that animals that ate the stubble from fields (a common practice for poor farmers to feed their livestock and a great way to add some fertilizer) were dropping dead. The reason: the farmer was growing BT cotton or a Roundup ready crop. The animals were dying from the residue in and on the stubble!
That is enough information to make we want to make sure I don’t eat any of the pesticide ready or impregnated foods.
There are no long-term studies of the impacts of these organisms, because they haven’t been around long enough to do them. Plus most of the studies used to approve these “foods” were done by Monsanto themselves. Most independent studies have found questionable if not downright serious health issues.
We need to make sure what we’re eating is good for us. Otherwise how can we be healthy! How can we survive.
Christmas is a time when we think of family get-togethers, memories and traditional treats and meals. With many of the traditional ingredients: white sugar and flour, dairy products, trans and saturated fats, and refined carbs, on the “no-no” list you may be wondering what you’ll eat this holiday season. We don’t want our families to feel deprived of the traditional treats they’ve come to associate with the holidays, yet we want to provide healthier choices.
You might want to try some raw food desserts and see how friends and family respond. Most people make faces when you tell them you’ll bring something raw, but once they’ve tasted it, they come away grinning and smacking their lips. With just a few simple kitchen appliances you can put together a great dish. Jenny Cornbleet’s book called Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People is a great place to start. I’ve tried a number of recipes in this book and they’ve all be delicious. In it there are dessert recipes for cakes, cookies, fruit crisps, pies, tarts, puddings, mousses, shakes, and ice cream. All of them are totally raw. Guess what? They taste better than their sugar-laden counterparts.
One recipe is for a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. It calls for 1 ½ cups walnuts, dash of salt, 8 pitted medjool dates, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp water. For the raspberry sauce you use 1-cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain if frozen) with ¼ cup pitted medjool dates, soaked for 30 minutes and drained. Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla … process until mixture becomes sticky. Add water and process briefly. Transfer to a serving plate and form a 5 inch round cake. Place the raspberries and dates in a blender and mix until smooth, pouring over the cake just before serving.
You don’t need to give up all your comfort foods, just find a healthier recipe for it. The taste may be a bit strange to you the first time, but after you’ve switched to healthier ingredients for a while, you’ll find the original recipe inedible. Should you choose to nibble on a few old favorites, don’t go down the guilt trail, thoroughly enjoy those few bites, but use moderation. Over time you’ll replace the unhealthy treat with a healthy one and start a whole new set of traditions for you and generations to come.
Over the past few years I’ve found some of my favorite foods skyrocketing in price. The reason? They’ve been found to have high nutritional values, especially when it comes to antioxidants. Let’s see… pomegranates. You know those weird fruits that you used to have at Christmas that hardly anyone knew what to do with, so they would just sit around until they shriveled up. Well, I’ve eaten and enjoyed them since I was a kid. A few years back you could get a really, really nice pomegranate for 99 cents. Now, on sale they’re $1.50. At regular price, you’re looking at $3 apiece!
Another favorite is pumpkin seeds. Again some amazing curative powers and they went from around $4 a pound, to $8 a pound in one year!
Blueberries are another. You used to get a pint on sale for 99 cents. Now? This past season they were on sale for $1.50 one time, the rest of the season $2.29. Thank goodness we have 6 blueberry plants that had bumper crops this year.
The thing that most people don’t understand is, just adding a few of these items to your diet isn’t going to do much good. If you’re constantly living an unhealthy lifestyle, filled with fast food, sodas, couch potatoeing, alcohol, etc., a few antioxidants might knock a few free radicals out of your system, but they aren’t going to protect you from degenerative diseases. It takes a dedication to a healthy lifestyle to make any real changes.
A few years back we were at an expo. At that time my husband was on a 100% raw diet, I was on about 50-60% raw. They had this machine that measured your level of antioxidants. The average level was around 15,000, my husband was at 80,000, I was at 60,000. We’ve been dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for our entire marriage and even before. Over 22 years of watching what we eat, drink, how we move, and think, now that’s a recipe for health.
So, those of you that are just eating a few of the new “fad” health foods, but still living an otherwise unchanged lifestyle, either start really changing your ways or stop eating them, so that they’ll become affordable for those of us that really do take care of ourselves.
Recently I became aware that some white sugar (made from sugar cane) is run through a charcoal filter. However, it isn’t necessarily vegetarian. They take animal bones throw them in a fire and use the leftovers for what is called bone char. YUCK! I’ve decided not to eat anything with white sugar in it, because I don’t know if some poor animal had to die to make it white (beet sugar is naturally white).
Where did we ever get the idea that white sugar is better? This is certainly a conspiracy. Did you know that when they strip all the nutrients off of sugar to “purify” it and make it white, your body thinks it is a poison? The reason we have sugar highs and lows is, once you’ve eaten something with white sugar in it your body sees that as an invader and sends out the troops to get it out of your body fast. Thus the crash when it leaves your body so suddenly. Not only that, since there are no nutrients left in white sugar, it means that you have to rob your body of stored nutrients in order to digest it properly.
Whole sugars, those that only have impurities, like bits of stems, removed from them interact with your body in a whole different way. They have all the nutrients left in them, too, so your body can easily process them without putting any strain on your system.
When we lived in New Mexico I had a problem with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. We were living at 6500 ft, which meant our blood had to become pretty thin. It must have been because my blood was thin that I started having problems, but I sure would get whacked out every time I’d eat anything with sugar in it.
One day we found a whole sugar product for sale and decided to try it. To our surprise and delight I had no sugar highs and lows, none at all!
What I’m aggravated about is that evaporated cane juice needs a lot less processing than white sugar, but it is around twice as expensive, so manufacturers are naturally going to grab the white sugar to keep their products competitive.
I’m tired of eating healthy meaning paying through the nose for your food. I’m also exasperated by food companies that will feed people poison, or something near it, just to save a little and make more profit. Aren’t we worth more than profit? Isn’t a human life the most precious thing on the planet? It doesn’t seem like it anymore. Money is more important in food, medical care, and housing.
I’ve been using whole sugar in my home for over a decade. The only white sugar we have is used to make nectar for the hummingbird, but now there is a whole plethora of things I can’t eat, including almost all restaurant foods. I dream of a world with healthy, tasty, nutritious food for everyone. Where people have lots of energy, creativity, and zest for life, and everyone is at or near their ideal weight.
For many years I’ve known that many foods people are eating are unhealthy and some dangerous. Most of the information I got was from fringe groups, but now it’s becoming mainstream. I’m going to include sites and videos that I think are worth taking a look at.
The first is a YouTube clip that has a lot of interesting information, that is backed up by documentation. Often times web sites and videos are just people getting up there and ranting, without anything to back their claims up. They say there are hidden documents, but somehow they got a hold of the information and didn’t publish it? That has always sounded fishy to me. But this video the person has clips of the actual articles (some of which are his own, but not all) that show outline what is happening to our food and it isn’t pretty.
Please try to ignore his purely political agenda and look at the actual information he’s giving. You’ll see that our food is not being produced to nourish us, rather to control us, possibly even to the point of controlling the population, but I’m not going to go there. What I’m concerned about is that we start getting food that truly nourishes us. We’d have so much less disease, less ADHD, less violence and aggression. When the body isn’t getting what it needs, even if its eating enough calories, we cannot operate optimally.
So, start reading labels. Become aware of what is being put in your food. Do research on additives, especially if you can’t say them. Most importantly start cooking your meals from scratch, buy organic when possible, buy from farmers you know and trust, and grow your own if possible. That’s the best way to ensure what is in your food. Check out my gardening blog to find out about buying seeds from companies that have signed the safe seed pledge, too.
Using fall fruits can make excellent smoothies. Below is a recipe I prepared recently.
- 1 pear, peeled and quartered
- 1 banana, peeled and broken into several pieces
- 4 chard leaves with stems, washed and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup soy milk
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
Put all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
You can substitute almond or rice milk; ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, whole sugar to taste; leave out the Chinese five spice, add cinnamon and/or ginger; frozen banana for fresh.
By continuing to drink smoothies into the fall months, you’ll continue to get great nutrition by including leafy greens and fresh fruit in your diet.
This works great as a breakfast drink, or have it ready for the kids when they get home from school.