Diet, Not A Diet or Dieting

Often when I’m at work and there is some sort of buffet of goodies in the break room a coworker is trying to coax me to eat I make the comment “that’s not part of my diet.”  I then feel the need to explain that NO, I am not ON a diet, my diet consists of the food I eat and that happens to be in a category of food I don’t eat.

If you look up Diet in the dictionary there is an array of definitions.  The Diet I talk about is a noun.  Diet- a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease*.  The definition most people think about in connection to Diet is a verb. . . Diet- to select or limit the food one eats to improve one’s physical condition or to lose weight.*

As a society, we need to start getting away from using the word diet as a verb and start thinking about it more like as a noun.  Having a healthy diet is important to your overall health and well-being.  I try to eat healthfully and feed my family healthy meals.  In my house we eat a lot of whole foods, real foods, you know the kind you have to actually put a little thought into before you serve because it doesn’t come out of a package already prepared for you.  I’ll tell you, it’s not always easy or fun, but I feel like it’s important and so I suck it up and prepare a wholesome dinner from scratch almost every night. (Yes, I am a little crazy, yes it often sucks, and yes learning about food prep is on my to-do list)

I’ve had a lot of friends going on the Whole30 diet the past couple of years and while I am pretty familiar with what it is I didn’t know all the actual rules so I thought I’d break down and get the book to see what it was really about.  My thought process being that even if I didn’t decide to take the plunge, it does have recipes in it and you can never have enough recipes.  I consulted my nutritionist about her thoughts on Whole30 .  She told me that if you are going to use it as a basis of changing how you eat for good, it is a great plan, but that many people use it as a 30 day fast, and then go back to their old habits of eating, which is not so good.

I have a few problems with the Whole30 plan. While a lot of the advice is so good I feel like they categorize some foods as “bad” that should never be eaten. I don’t share that belief.  I am more of an”everything in moderation” kind of gal.  I do believe that every person is different and that some foods get a bad rap, like butter. If you do a little research Grass Fed Butter is actually good for you and raw cow milk or goat’s milk can also be beneficial to lots of people. The topic is controversial but I believe you are smart enough to decide for yourself if having those foods in your diet is what’s right for you.

The one food I do think is the candy coated devil is sugar.  Sugar is addictive and can breed all sorts of unwanted diseases.  If you don’t believe me do a little googling and then look at the labels of the things in your pantry to  see what has sugar in it.  You will be shocked and appalled at home many things we think of as healthy are laced with sugar.

The second issue I have with this “diet” is that I’ve watched numerous friends who go on this diet for themselves and then watch how they continue to feed their children processed food because they think their children won’t eat healthfully.  I am somewhat aghast when I see this.  How can you believe that changing your own diet is important and then fail to apply the same principles to your children? If you want some tips about how to get your children to eat well check out one of my previous posts on the subject Getting Your Child to Eat Well

My nutritionist also reminded me that total health is not just what you eat.  There are 6 main components to our Health.  What we eat, what we drink, how we sleep,  how we breathe, our exercise and our mood.  If one component it majorly unbalanced it can affect our overall health, so we need to spread our concentration to all areas, not just one.

I’m glad I had that chat with her.  I kind of want to do the Whole30 diet, but I just quit sugar in my coffee.  I went from 2 teaspoons a day to 0.  I currently lace my coffee with Raw Milk and Cinnamon. This was not easy for me and I am not ready to give up my raw milk. One step at a time here. . . but if you’ve been thinking about changing your views about food, checking out the program out won’t hurt you.  This is an example of a typical dinner in my household.  It’s not fancy, but it is real food. . .

20160718_175454

 

Food Revolution Day 2016

Today is food revolution day!  If you don’t know about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution you can check out all sorts of info on his webpage Here.  Food Revolution is about each and every one of us taking a stand when it comes to food by making small changes that push for more positive changes in our current food industry.

Food Revolutionaries encourage people to cook with your kids, buy better products that support a more fair system, and read up on current food issues.  I think the most important aspect of the Food Revolution is getting back to cooking with real food and ingredients.  Health issues are running rampant in our country and many of the health issues people face can be contributed to food choices.  So, I challenge you, even if it’s just for today to only eat real food.  Take one small step in changing your habits, your children’s habits, and the direction of the food industry and only eat whole unprocessed food, just for today.  I promise it’s not that hard,  and if you need a little help Jamie Oliver has some delicious recipes you can check out Here .

FRD2016

Food Revolution Day

It seems lately that Food has been a topic that has come up everywhere.  I think about food choices daily as I run around in this chaotic place trying to live and balance life.  I hear my friends struggle about making food choices.  I hear in my groups, people wanting to learn more about food, food choices and nutrition.

So, with all this food on my mind, I thought it was time to remind everyone about:

Food Revolution Day.food-rev-day

What is Food Revolution Day about?

“Access to good, fresh, nutritious food is every child’s human right, but currently we’re failing our children. Millions of kids are eating too much of the wrong food, while millions more don’t get enough of the good stuff to let them grow and thrive. We need to unite as one strong, single voice to force governments and businesses to create a healthier, happier world for the future.”  Sign up now and join the revolution!

USA-marketing-spends (1)

It is up to US as individuals to teach each other about food, to help each other make good food choices and to start demanding that the world feed our children good healthy foods.  Learn more about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Jamie Olivers Food Foundation and check Out his 10 Easy Tips to Live By to take a step towards a healthier you.

Holiday Eats

What do you do when you leave the card with your recipe at home that you would like to blog about today?  You pull it out of your memory. I stumbled upon this recipe a few years ago I can’t remember from where.  I wrote down all the ingredients, but that’s it.  I didn’t write down the directions, so I had to kind of wing it, so it’s fitting I left that little notecard with the recipe at home on the kitchen counter to carry on with the tradition.

Spinach and Artichoke Casserole

Spinach (4 boxes of frozen or two bags of fresh)
1 can of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
2 Boxes of cream cheese
1 small can of water chestnuts (drained and chopped)
Mushrooms (optional, but a good way to sneak in extra veggies)
Red Bell Pepper (optional, but a good way to sneak in extra veggies)
1/2 onion
1 Stick Butter
Garlic (I use 3-4 cloves)
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg
1/2-1 cup of Parmesan Cheese

Thaw butter and cream cheese (and spinach if you use frozen).

Finely Chop onion, artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, spinach, mushrooms, red bell pepper and garlic.

Mix all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl, you want the cream cheese and butter to be well distributed throughout the mixture..  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Pour all ingredients into a casserole dish and sprinkle parmesan on top.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

That folks is my secret recipe. . . too yummy not to share.

Happy Eating!

 

Holiday Eats

The holidays are rapidly approaching and since Thanksgiving is a food-centric holiday I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes this week to add to your Thanksgiving table.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Last year I was looking for a cranberry sauce recipe that was real cranberries and I stumbled upon This post from the Lemon Bowl, an easy cranberry sauce recipe.

INGREDIENTS
12 oz bag fresh cranberries
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ginger

INSTRUCTIONS
Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 3 hours.
Using a wooden spoon, gently mash the cranberries until desired consistency is reached.

This recipe was a big hit last year and I plan on keeping it around for years to come.

Raw Milk, From Farm to Table

My nutritionist recommended that I start drinking raw dairy.  So I’ve been doing a little research on the local farms in the area and trying to decided where I need to go to procure this raw milk.  The two big name farms near me both have had some controversial comments linked to them and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Some people really like them, and others recommended finding another source. . .

One problem with trying to find healthier food options and in making healthier food decisions is I know in my heart if they are too much of an inconvenience to my day to day life the more likely I am to not stick with them.  Thoughts of obtaining a couple of milking goats to keep on our property flashed through my mind, our property is too small for a cow, but probably big enough for a goat or two. . . but since I’ve never had goats milk as an adult I thought maybe I should just stick with the plan of a garden with maybe some chickens for next year before I start throwing in hoofed mammals.

I found myself in some what of a pickle until one of my Mommy friends posted in our forum that she was going to a farm in my little neck of the woods. Excitement bubbled over inside me.  I just had to find out where this little jewel of a place was.  I asked her to shoot me the address and then plugged in the address to google maps.  The little farm she was going to was quite literally around the corner from my house.  I’ve probably passed it thousands of times. I didn’t realize they sold to the community. Score!  I made arrangements to meet her there during their limited hours of operations that weekend and scored my first bit of raw milk. I am so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful group of mommy friends who help me navigate through sticky situations like this.

I’ll admit I cannot remember in my adult like having ever drunk raw milk so I was a little hesitant.  I poured a small glass and took a sip.  In all honesty it didn’t taste much different to me than whole milk, except maybe a little richer in consistency with a little sweeter of a taste.  The hubs loves it and the babe drank a little glass the first day I brought it home and then requested more “farm” milk.   I am excited to be supporting a farmer in my community and hopefully getting a better dairy product with more nutrient value.

milkcows-istock000003721058-1

One project complete. Next project on the list. . . making bone broth. . .

Food Glorious Food- Cheddar Baked Chicken

It’s been too long since I’ve shared a recipe (Because you know I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with my kitchen and all). One of the first Pinterest delights that I tried was a recipe my friend Cathy had pinned called Cheddar Baked Chicken. It is an absolutely amazing dish and always a hit at our house.  It might not be the most healthy because of the Ritz crackers and the sauce, but it sure does taste delicious and there are plenty of substitutes out there: check out this list for some great substitutions. While writing this, I decided I might just try a healthy alternative version of this next time I make this dish just for kicks and giggles.

Ingredients:
4 Large Chicken Breasts
1/2-1 whole block Cheddar Cheese
1 Sleeve Ritz Cracker (or substitute)
1/2 cup milk
1 Egg
Salt
Pepper
Parsley
Any Spices you might like

For the Sauce:
1 Can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 TBS SC
1 TBS butter
Parsley

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400°
Squish up your Ritz Crackers in the cracker sleeve and then dump the crackers crumbs into a bowl. (If you prefer to use a food processor have at it, I just view it as one more thing to clean up so I skip it.) Add salt, pepper and whatever spices you like to the crackers.
Shred your Block of cheese into another bowl.
Mix your milk and egg into a third bowl.
Grease a large glass baking pan.
Cut up your chicken breasts into about 3-4 pieces per breast.
Dip your pieces of chicken in the milk mixture, then the bowl of cheddar cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken, then dip into the crackers.  Lay the breaded chicken in the pan.  Repeat for all the chicken pieces.  Sprinkle any leftover cheese and crumbs on top of the chicken in the pan.
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until chicken is golden brown.

For the sauce:
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Pour over chicken (or in the case of little persons put on the side so they can dip.)

Pair with some veggies or a salad and you have a delicious meal you will be taking requests for in the future.

Sometimes Water Just Doesn’t Cut It. . .

simple rehydration

Sometimes when you are trying to rehydrate, water just doesn’t cut it so, on the home front, we have been looking into some homemade alternatives to store bought sports drinks (which contain all sorts of things you don’t want to put in your body) to help with rehydration.  I found the following recipe from Mother Nature Network.  It is called The Super Simple Electrolyte Drink , and since I’m all about simple I thought I’d give it a go.

The Super Simple Electrolyte Drink
(see the original post Here )

1/2 Cup Orange Juice (I used store bought 100% juice)
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice (I squeezed my own and let me tell you when you squeeze a few lemons you find all sorts of little cuts and scrapes on your hands you didn’t even know you had. Ouch.  And be careful you don’t get seeds in your drink)
2 Cups of filtered Water
2 TBSP of RAW Honey
1/8 TSP Unrefined Salt (I used sea salt)

I made a double batch on Friday and it was gone by late Sunday afternoon.  The babe loved it and went looking for it Sunday evening only to open the fridge and find the bottle missing.  He looked up at me with a very disappointed little face and said “Juice All Gone? Go store?” I will be making another batch this evening and we will stick with this recipe until the orange juice runs out, then we will try and share a new recipe.  Happy Hydrating! (And feel free to share your hydrating recipes)

Snack, Snack, Snackity Snack

When you are trying to eat more “real food” and less “processed” foods you get asked frequently about snacks for the kiddo’s.  This is what kind of snacks we have in our house for adults and kiddos alike:

Fresh fruit (and frozen fruit for smoothies and popsicles)
Dehydrated Fruit (We love Brothers All Natural)
Dried Fruit
Fruit Snacks (We like Simply Balanced )
Raisins
Yogurt covered raisins/blueberries
Chocolate covered cherries
Pretzels
Annie’s bunnies or Crackers (we keep these to a minimum)
Popcorn
Trail mix of assorted varieties
Nuts or Seeds (Pumpkin and Squash Seeds are delicious)
Granola bars (we love Kind Bars)
Hummus and Pita Chips
Olives (for the babe) Yes you read that correctly OLIVES!
Cheese
Pepperoni or deli fresh lunch meat
Broccoli and an assortment of Raw Veggies
Hard Boiled Eggs
Cold Kidney Beans

When I do buy processed foods as snacks, like granola bars, I READ the ingredients, the trick is being able to identify all the ingredients.  If there are long words you don’t understand, you probably don’t want to eat whatever it is. On occasion we do break down and have chips or some type of crackers, maybe some homemade sweetness like pumpkin or banana bread or homemade cookies. For the most part we try to eat more whole foods or we make it ourselves. A challenge in itself, (especially for us full time working people) but so incredibly worth it for yourself and your family.

A Challenge from a Friend

A friend of mine recently challenged me to watch a documentary.  Our conversation went something like this:

Him: “You should check out the documentary called “Cowspiracy”

cowspiracy-banner-1

Me: “I probably wouldn’t make it through.  I can’t watch the animal documentaries.  I don’t eat much meat as it is, but after watching a documentary on chickens I couldn’t eat chicken anything for years.  Now it’s only organic free range expensive chickens.”

Him: “There’s nothing like that in it.  You owe it to your son to watch”

I took a little pause after I saw that.  I kind of didn’t like someone telling me I owe it to my son to do something, but another part of me felt a twinge, that maybe I should watch it.  This friend wouldn’t tell me I need to watch something unless he knows it would really mean something to me.

Me: Is it on Netflix?

Him: Yes ma’am!

Me: Ok.  You know I don’t eat cow very often and we drink a lot of almond milk because we already think cow’s milk is a conspiracy?

Him: I know.  This is probably the most important topic we face as a human race.

600_433537365

Wow, I thought.  What the heck is this documentary about?  I headed over to Netflix to check it out and was glad that I did.  If you haven’t watched Cowspiracy I am passing along the challenge to you to not only watch it, but to watch it and think hard about it and then challenge your friends to watch it.

There are so many things that we face as the human race and one thing we don’t talk about often enough is our food.  Where does our food come from?  What happens when we, as humans consume animals and plants, what does that do to our environment?  How have humans changed the environment by our food habits? Can our planet continue to sustain the ever growing population of humans if we continue on the same path we are currently on?  The answer to that last question is NO, WE CAN’T.  We humans need to make a change.  We need to make changes quickly and en masse if we want to continue to survive on this planet.  But first we need to educate ourselves and some of the problems that no one wants to talk about, so head over to Netflix and watch Cowspiracy.  Or head over to their website if you don’t have Netflix Then let me know what you think!

Btq2_uECcAE8keC

Cowspiracy
Filmmakers: Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn
Executive Producer: Leonardo DiCaprio
http://www.cowspiracy.com/