Real Food on a Budget?

When we are traveling, one of our favorite things to do is find local restaurants and try them out.  Although we are all very adventurous eaters, we do try to eat as healthy as possible, even while on the road.  You’ll often find us enjoying vegetarian dishes, beans & rice, salads and fresh fruit.  Not to say that we don’t tend to indulge a little more when away from home, we just try to keep what we eat as close to real food (food that isn’t heavily processed, has simple, whole food ingredients, and isn’t high in sugar) as possible. Because we aren’t as strict when traveling, when we are at home, it’s super important for me to create meals that are as healthy as possible.  That way I can ensure we are following my 80/20 rule of 80% healthy eating and 20% not quite as healthy.  I do love to cook, but with a full-time job, kids in two different schools, and year-round sports it can be challenging to get a real food meal on the table. One of my favorite tricks is to find cookbooks I love that have pages full of delicious real food recipes.  Then I’ll plan the weekly menu using just that one cookbook – it’s fun for me, easy as I’m not looking up recipes all over the place, and if I like the author, I find I’m happy with the meals. Lisa Leake’s cookbooks are some of my favorites.  I’ve been using 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food and 100 Days...
The Best Hidden Resource!

The Best Hidden Resource!

Today I’m singing praises about a resource most of us have access to, and few people ever use.  It makes my life easier, brings me daily enjoyment and costs NOTHING.  What is it? The local library. Seriously – if you don’t use your local library, you really need to check it out.  Libraries are so much more than dusty old shelves of books (although if you love to read, you’ll appreciate that too).  Ready for some examples of why the library is such a great resource? It’s free.  Unless you habitually forget to turn in your books, the library will cost you nothing. The library contains more than books.  Most libraries have DVD’s, audio books, music and magazines.  Mine also has board games and get this –  museum passes!  Yep, on our recent Spring Break we were able to check out family passes for two state museums and visit them for free.  This easily saved us $100. If your library doesn’t carry what you want, you can request it.  The library doesn’t have a book you want to read?  Ask them to purchase it or see if they can get it on loan from another library.  Most libraries are continually buying new material and they appreciate it when members tell them what they’d like to see. The programs can be terrific.  When my kids were little, we were regulars at story time – it was a fun, free activity we could do together.  Now they always enjoy participating in the summer reading program. Our library offers a program or two almost every day of the week – truly something...

Color for your Thanksgiving Table

It’s the time of year most of us think about cranberries.  Even if you don’t normally enjoy them, you might consume some cranberry sauce this week while enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner. However, we really should be eating cranberries much more often than once a year!  Cranberries are chock full of antioxidants, vitamin C AND they are great for your digestive system. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you may have been advised to drink cranberry juice.  That’s because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins.  This helps prevent E.coli bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder. Thanks to all those antioxidants, they also help our body get rid of toxins that can cause our immune system to weaken – and a weakened immune system makes us more likely to pick up an icky bug. If you’ve never had real cranberry sauce – this is the year to start.  Here is my favorite recipe – it’s incredibly simple, delicious and can even be made a few days before you want to serve it. Other ways to add more cranberries to your life include drinking them (make sure it’s real cranberry juice and not a bit of juice with tons of additional ingredients), adding fresh ones to baked goods, or dried cranberries to your salads.  Or just snack on them raw – yum! This is also the time of year to stock up on cranberries – they can be pretty hard to find at the grocery after December.  Buy an extra bag or two and stick it in your freezer.  They’ll even keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator’s crisper...

How’s Your Gut?

Do you often find yourself with stomach problems?  Feeling bloated or just plain miserable?  I know I used to, and as I mentioned in last week’s Facebook Live video, it’s exactly why I started down the path of nutrition training.  I wanted to stop feeling uncomfortable every other day. I can happily say that today (almost 7 years later), I rarely have stomach issues.  In fact, overall I feel much healthier and get sick less often than I used to.  I’m confident that many of the tips, tricks and lifestyle changes I’ve made over the years is the reason. Thank goodness for being willing to experiment (although once you get to the point where you’ll try anything to feel better, it’s not that hard to do). This month, I’ll dive into some of my favorite ways to help if you are experiencing gut issues.  Since the reasons can be varied and are as individual as each of us, some of these may help you more than others – but there is science and historical evidence behind each tip.  The only way to find out what helps you is to give the various suggestions a try.  And not just once – be consistent and try something new for at least 7 days.  But don’t try more than one tip at a time – otherwise you can’t pinpoint what is helping.  I do want to mention that although they might be helpful, none of these tips are considered “cures” or are specifically geared towards people who’ve been diagnosed with IBS or other medical issues – please talk to your doctor about...
Feel Better While Eating

Feel Better While Eating

Do you enjoy your meals at the table?  Or do you scarf them down standing by the kitchen counter or over the stove?  Do you eat with your family most nights?  Or is the norm for you to each grab whatever you can whenever you are home? I know I’m not the first one to mention how important it is to eat together as a family regularly, but in addition to the often acknowledged benefits for your kids, there are strong health benefits for YOU too. By sitting down to eat, you are automatically going to eat better.   You’ll notice what’s on your plate – the colors, quantities and appearance.  If you start to pay attention to this you can begin to make small changes – smaller quantities, a wider variety of colors, etc. Challenge yourself to not just enjoy the company around you but to begin eating mindfully.  Chew each bite completely (this will help with bloating and stomach issues), place your fork down between bites.  Think about what you are eating and enjoy all the nuances and flavors. Delicious. Used to having the TV on while you eat?  Turn it off.  If you eat with the TV on, I guarantee you will eat more.  Your body doesn’t realize it’s full when it’s distracted.  And it’s easy to mindlessly shovel more food into your mouth when you aren’t paying attention to each bite. Why should you make eating mindfully a practice?  Because you deserve it!  You deserve to enjoy your meals – after all eating is a part of everyday so why not make it enjoyable?  Right?  In...

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