7 Surprising Reasons To Eat More Soup…

1. Soup Can Be Quick
The secret to super quick soup is to use ingredients that are pre-cooked or will cook in the time it takes to boil the water or stock.

2. Soup Fills You Up With Less Calories
Because soup contains more water than solid foods, it fills us up with less calories. A study at Penn State confirmed that people who ate a chicken and rice soup as opposed to a solid chicken and rice meal ate 26% less.

3. Soup Doesn’t Need Homemade Stock To Taste Amazing
One thing that used to keep me away from soup was the misconception that you needed wonderful home made stock to make full flavored soup. Once I realized that great soup just requires great tasting ingredients, a whole new world of soup opportunities opened up.

4. Soup Is Pretty Independent
Unlike other quick cooking methods such as stir frying or grilling, soup can be made with only minimal supervision. Just pop everything in the pot and let it simmer (or boil if you’re in a hurry) until you’re ready to eat. Too easy.

5. Soup Is Very Forgiving
There tends to be a large window where soup tastes delicious. Unlike a steak which requires clock work precision, it’s actually pretty difficult to under or over cook a soup. Even forgetful cooks who end up with a scorched bottom can usually rectify the situation by transferring the unburned parts to a clean pot and adding the word ‘smoked’ to the soup title.

6. Soup Doesn’t Require Much Cleaning Up
Most soups can be made with just one pot. What’s not to love about that?

7. Soup Can Keep You Cool
It can be easy to forget about soup during the Summer months. But if you do, you’re missing out on the cooling properties of soup.

Green Curry Broccoli Soup
serves 2

While I tend to prefer fresh broccoli, this soup is also great made with frozen broccoli florettes. Just pop the frozen broccoli straight in the pan – it shouldn’t take much longer to cook and will save you the chopping step.

 

To make this soup in under 10 minutes, boil water in the kettle to speed things along.  When chopping the broccoli, I like to finely slice most of the stems and add them to the pot so I minimize the wastage.

3 – 4 tablespoons green curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
2 heads broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons smooth nut butter

1. Heat a large saucepan on a high heat. Add a few tablespoons of cream from the top of the coconut milk or some oil. Stir fry the curry paste for 15-30 seconds or until you notice the aroma. Be careful not to burn.

2. Quickly add 2 cups water and the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.

3. Add broccoli. Bring back to a simmer and cook uncovered for 8-9 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.

4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter. Taste and season with a little salt and/or natural sugar to taste.

VARIATIONS
smooth – purée the soup with a stick blender until you have the texture you’re after.

fragrant – serve with a handful or Thai or regular basil leaves scattered over the top.

nut-free – replace the peanut butter with a little sugar and some fish sauce to season.

almond butter – the first times made this soup I used some home made almond butter which was just delicious.

carnivore – simmer some finely sliced chicken breast or thigh fillets along with the broccoli.

other curry paste – while I think green curry works best with broccoli, feel free to use yellow, red or massaman curry pastes.

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5 Simple Ways To Not Gain An Inch Over The Holidays

Holidays are a very hectic time for everyone and staying healthy is usually far everyone’s mind.

I put together a list of 5 simple things you can do over the next week to make sure you can enjoy the holidays and not gain those extra-unwanted pounds…

1. Eat a protein-rich breakfast – scrambled eggs with veggies would be ideal or see the simple recipe below…

2. Do just 5 minutes of high intensity exercise every day.  Below are some ideas of exercises you can do anywhere and anytime – even in street clothes.

3. Limit yourself to only 1 treat per day – pick an extra special dessert.

4. Slow down while you are eating. You put or your host put all this love, time and energy into preparing the meal – enjoy and savor it.

5. Bring a healthy dish to share.  You cannot rely on there being any healthy choices at a party so bring cut up veggies and hummus or a salad so you fill up on veggies.

Most importantly enjoy yourself and relish this opportunity to see people in festive moods and extending extra friendliness.

Wishing you health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year.  May you slip into 2012 with Ease and Grace.

All the best to you and your family,

Wendy

Easy Egg Muffins

Here is the perfect snack to enjoy guilt-free. Each muffin is packed with protein that will fuel your day and support muscle growth. Make a bunch of these and save them in the fridge for snacks-on-the-go.

Servings: 6

6 omega-3, organic, free range eggs

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/8 cup of organic shredded cheese

sprinkle of sea salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease lightly.

Mix up the eggs, add bell pepper, cheese and seasonings. Fill 6 muffin tins.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the egg is fully set.

Exercise ideas:

http://www.youtube.com/v/4XBeBuAITKM squat touch

http://www.youtube.com/v/nJShL-KhVM8 mountain climbers

http://www.youtube.com/v/ZWS6yLLj9bo plank to push up

http://www.youtube.com/v/BmL6GQj9YKk sumo squats

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7 Simple Healthy Eating Habits

Eating is one of the few things in life we pretty much have control over. It is also something that can have a profound effect on our health and happiness. So what better way to improve yourself than integrating a few new habits.

Here is a short list of things that most people can easily integrate into their everyday lives, which will have a positive effect on their health.

1 – Start the day with a Peppermint Tea. Although it is great to start the day with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in hot water to aid digestion and alkalize the body, I find it can get a bit much day after day – becoming harsh on the digestive system. A more gentle option is Peppermint tea, which will work to soothe and relax the digestive tract.  Make sure you find the highest quality of peppermint tea so it will have the highest potency.

2 – Have a Satisfying Breakfast and Lunch. Some people can’t do breakfast and others like me are always hungry upon waking – It is important to stabilize and bring up sugar levels early in the day hence the recommendation for a satisfying and wholesome breakfast and lunch. It will give you energy to get on with your day and make sure you don’t overeat or binge at the normal mid morning blood sugar collapse.

Remember eat “Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, Dinner like a Pauper.”

Start your day with a source of protein like some eggs or yoghurt or a whole-grain porridge topped with roasted nuts. The morning is also a great time to eat fruit like berries or bananas. Lunch should also be a sustaining mix of complex carbohydrates, vegetables and protein – in the winter a wholesome soup with gluten free crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers is a great option.

3 – Eat your main evening meal a few hours before sleeping. Most people will find that they sleep better when going to bed light – it is fine to have a small snack before sleep but your main meal should be a few hours before you go to bed. This allows for the digestion and most importantly for the digestive system to have a rest while you sleep – we have all experienced how horrible it feels to sleep shortly after eating a heavy meal….

4 – Have Soups and Smoothies. Assimilation of nutrients is so important, especially with the mineral depleted food we consume today. I always recommend people to eat soups and smoothies which are some what pre-digested, making it as easy as you can for your body to assimilate nutrients. This ties in with chewing food well – drink your food and chew your water!

5 – Drink Sparkling Water with Lemon. Carbonated water is great at getting an extra flow of carbon dioxide around the body, especially to the brain, improving cognitive function and energy flow. Adding some fresh lemon juice not only makes it taste good, but improves liver function and strengthens digestion.

6 – Eat your Vitamin C. With winter in full flow colds and flu’s are starting to spread. The best protection is real Vitamin C from whole-foods. Try to get plenty of Citrus fruits, Berries, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Kiwis. Basically anything plant based with a strong color and tangy flavor is certain to have a good hit of Vitamin C, For a more comprehensive list see here……..

7 – Remineralize your diet. Want more calcium and magnesium in your diet? The answer is simply to concentrate on eating mineral dense food, if you can tolerate them whole milk dairy products are great, as is Blackstrap Molasses. Without an adequate supply of minerals your energy will slump and Vitamins cannot be assimilated – remineralizing your body really is the key to health.

Article adapted from Zen to Fitness.

Here is a perfect winter soup that will give you a full meal in a bowl…

Recipe: Kale, Lentil and Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

* 1 tablespoon oil, olive

* 1 cup(s) onion(s), chopped

* 1 cup(s) carrot(s), coarsely chopped

* 2 clove(s) garlic, minced

* 6 cup(s) broth, reduced-sodium chicken

* 1 tablespoon basil, fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

* 4 cup(s) kale, coarsely chopped

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1/8 teaspoon pepper, black ground

* 1 1/2 cup(s) chicken, breast (cooked), cubed

* 1 medium tomato(es), seeded and chopped

* 1/2 cup(s) lentils, red

Method:

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Add broth and dried basil (if using) to vegetable mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in kale, salt, and pepper. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in cooked chicken, tomato, red lentils, and fresh basil (if using). Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more or until kale and lentils are tender.

What is your favorite winter soup?  Let me know if you need a recipe!

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50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again

This incredible article by Colleen Vanderlinden, for PlanetGreen.com gives you simple ideas that could make a big difference in your budget and help save resources too.

“Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without” is a favorite adage in both frugal and green circles, and it is something I strive to live by. One of the best ways to “use it up” is to think differently about our food and ways to avoid wasting it.

We’ve all had it happen: half the loaf of bread goes stale because no one wants to eat sandwiches today, and the grapes we bought as healthy snacks for the kids’ lunches languish in the crisper. With a little creativity, and an eye toward vanquishing waste in our lives, we can make use of more of our food before it goes to waste. Here are a few ideas for you.

Using Up Vegetables

1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown.”

2. Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs.

3. Don’t toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.

4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers.

5. Roasted root vegetable leftovers can be turned into an easy, simple soup the next day. Add the veggies to a blender, along with enough broth or water to thin them enough to blend. Heat and enjoy.

6. If you’re preparing squash, don’t toss the seeds. Rinse and roast them in the oven, just like you would with pumpkin seeds. The taste is pretty much the same.

7. Celery leaves usually get tossed. There’s a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews.

8. Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer.

9. Canning is always a good option. If you’re doing tomatoes, you can use a boiling water bath. If you’re canning any other type of veggie, a pressure canner is necessary for food safety.

10. Before it goes bad, blanch it and toss it in the freezer. This works for peas, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.

11. Too many zucchini? Make zucchini bread or muffins. If you don’t want to eat the bread now, bake it and freeze it, then defrost when you’re ready to eat it.

12.Pickle it. Cucumbers are the first veggie most of us think of pickling, but in reality, just about any vegetable can be preserved through pickling.

Ideas for Cutting Down on Fruit Waste

13. Make smoothies with fruit before it goes bad. Berries, bananas, and melons are great candidates for this use-up idea.

14. Jam is really easy to make, and will keep for up to a year if you process the jars in a hot water bath. If you don’t do the water processing part, you can keep the jam in the refrigerator for a month, which is a lot longer than the fruits would have lasted.

15. Dry your fruit and store it in the freezer or in airtight containers.

16. Make fruit leather.

17. Make a big fruit salad or “fruit kebabs” for your kids. For some reason, they seem to eat more fruit if it’s in these “fancier” forms.

18. Use up the fall bounty of apples by making applesauce or apple butter.

19. Don’t throw out those watermelon rinds! Pickled watermelon rind is a pretty tasty treat.

20. Make a fruit crumble out of almost any fruit you have on hand. Assemble and bake it now, or leave it unbaked and store it in the freezer for a quick dessert.

Putting Extra Grains to Good Use

21. Make croutons out of day-old bread.

22. Turn day-old bread into homemade bread crumbs.

23. Freeze leftover bread. This way you’ll have day-old on hand whenever you need bread crumbs, or croutons rather than using fresh bread.

24. All of those little broken pieces of pasta in the bottom of the box? Collect them and mix with rice and veggies for a simple side dish.

25. A few tablespoons of leftover oatmeal isn’t enough for a meal, but it is great sprinkled on top of yogurt.

26. Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup.

27. Made too many pancakes for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast, tasty weekday breakfast. Ditto waffles.

28. If you make plain white or brown rice with dinner, use leftovers for breakfast the next morning by adding them to oatmeal. This provides extra fiber and allows you to use up that rice.

29. If you our your kids don’t like the bread crusts on your sandwiches, save these bits and pieces in the freezer to turn into bread crumbs later. Just throw the crusts into a food processor or coffee grinder to make them into crumbs. Season as you like.

30. If you have just a smidge of baby cereal left in the box, and it’s not enough for a full meal, add it to your babies pureed fruit. It adds bulk and fiber, and keeps baby full longer.

Make the Most of Meat

31. Don’t toss those chicken bones after you eat the chicken. Boil them to make chicken stock.

32. Ditto for bones from beef and pork.

33. The fat you trim from beef can be melted down and turned into suet for backyard birds.

34. Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.

35. Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup the next day by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat.

Use Dairy Before It Expires

36. If you’ve got a few chunks of different types of cheese sitting around after a party, make macaroni and cheese.

37. Eggs can be frozen. Break them, mix the yolks and whites together, and pour into an ice cube tray. Two frozen egg cubes is the equivalent of one large egg.

38. You can also freeze milk. Leave enough room in the container for expansion, and defrost in the refrigerator.

39. Use cream cheese in mashed potatoes or white sauces to give them thickness and tang.

40. Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This is excellent as a coating for eggplant slices, pork, or chicken.

Herbs and How to Get the Most Out of Them

41. Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that type of herb.

42. You can also freeze herbs by placing them in plastic containers. Certain herbs, such as basil, will turn black, but the flavor will still be great.

43. Make pesto with extra basil or parsley.

44. Dry herbs by hanging them by their stems in a cool, dry location. Once they’re dry, remove them from the stems and store them in airtight containers.

Don’t Waste a Drop

45. Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea.

46. If there’s a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

47. If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).

48. You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy.

49. If there’s just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a cup of tea.

Finally….

50. If you can’t think of any way to use that food in the kitchen, compost it. Everything except for meat and dairy will work in a compost pile, and at least your extra food can be used for something useful. Such as growing more food!

I post regular articles and tips on my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/fitfoodcoach.  Please take a minute to go “friend” there and I always love to hear your comments below!
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The Best Thing You Can Eat For Breakfast

Great Reasons To Eat Eggs For Breakfast…

1. Eggs assist in weight loss.
This is a follow on benefit from keeping you satiated. Studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast are more likely to lose weight than those who ate bagels.

2. Eggs help with brain development and memory.
Choline, an essential nutrient found in eggs, stimulates brain development and function. It has also been linked with increasing memory retention and recall as well as improving alertness.

3. Eggs are a great source of protein.
Whole eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein, meaning eggs contain all the essential amino acids which we must get from our diets.

4. Eggs protect your eyesight.
Two antioxidants, leutin and zeaxanthin, are present in eggs and have been linked to protecting eyes from damage related to UV exposure. They have also been associated with reducing the likelihood of developing cataracts in old age.

5. Eggs aren’t going to make your cholesterol worse.
While it’s true that eggs do contain a significant amount of cholesterol, the old formula of the cholesterol you eat impacting on your blood cholesterol levels, has been disproven. So there’s no need to worry about eating eggs increasing your risk for heart disease.

6. Egg keep you feeling full much longer than cereal or toast.

The protein and fat in eggs helps sustain your energy levels, keeping you satisfied for longer and reducing the need for a mid morning snack.

7. Eggs tend to be relatively inexpensive.
Compared to other high protein foods such as red meat, even free range eggs are more budget friendly.

8. Your hair and nails will grow faster and stronger.
This is probably just the protein at work, but I’ve definitely noticed a positive change in how often I find I need to cut my nails. And my hair seems to be growing much faster as well.

Adapted from a blog on the site Stone Soup

Here is a recipe for a salad you can have anytime during the day…The Sunny Side Up Salad

2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or coconut oil
2 red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes (I used sweet potatoes)
sea salt & black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used stoneground mustard)
1 shallot, minced (or you can use sweet yellow onion)
2 bunches of flat leaf spinach or about 1/2 lb. of baby spinach leaves, stems removed
2 oz. Parmesan cheese (optional)
4 large free-range eggs

Method:
Heat grapeseed or coconut oil in a large skillet. Add potatoes and season with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and browned, about 12-14 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, and minced shallot in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add spinach and Parmesan to the bowl and set aside.

When potatoes are done, add them to the bowl and toss salad until spinach is only slightly wilted.

Fry up your eggs until the whites are just set but yolks are still soft, then top each salad with an egg.

Perfect for breakfast or lunch or dinner. There really are no rules here.

What is your favorite way to eat eggs?

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Breakfast Suggestions for People on the Go

The all-American breakfast smorgasbord: cold cereal of every variety (from super colon blow to candy coated balls of sugar in the shape of the latest cartoon fad), toast, toaster strudel, bagels, croissants, donuts, coffee cake, pop-tarts, French toast, pancakes, blintzes, crepes, waffles, muffins, scones, hash browns, oatmeal, breakfast bars, breakfast squares, and now even breakfast “cookies.” (Do tell us what we’re leaving out. We know there has to be something!) We swear you could set the list to that Billy Joel tune. There’s a weekend challenge – anyone?

Whatever way you slice it, just reading the above list is enough to make your insulin rise. What is it about breakfast that is so darn carb-dependent? The most important meal of the day suddenly seems the most irksome, uninspiring, even ominous. You throw open the cabinets and fridge door on your way out, keys in hand. “What am I going to eat???” Too many of us end up just closing the cabinets with a frustrated, rushed muttering of expletives as we grab our bags and finally go. There’s a great way to start the day. (Just think: you get to sit through the morning meeting staring a hole through the gigantic box o’ donuts your supervisor brings every week.)

Consider this Primal breakfast menu – for those on the go.

The Incredible, Edible Hard boiled Egg!

The hard boiled egg can be the basis for many a meal-on-the-go. Peel, pack and top with a dash of Sea Salt & Pepper the night before.

Mini Crustless Quiche

This is a great weekend recipe that will keep giving for much of the week ahead.

Cook ½ lb. meat of choice. Nitrate-free bacon or ground pork with some crushed fennel seed works well. Saute ½ cup veggies of choice such as mushrooms, white onion, red bell pepper, spinach or scallions. Mix together with ¼-1/3 cup cheese of choice. Set aside.

Whisk 5 eggs and ¾ cup milk, and pour into muffin tins. (Use foil cups if desired.) Add meat and veggie blend to each cup of egg mixture.

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These can be stored in the fridge until they are ready to be eaten.

Breakfast Salad

Get a heaping serving of veggies along with some major protein. Add wedges of hardboiled egg and shredded bacon to fresh spinach leaves. Throw in some apple slices or nuts if you want. Store the night before in small sealed bowl. The next morning top it off with some olive oil and vinegar.

Smoothie

Throw a cup of Greek style yogurt, a handful of berries, a half a banana, ¼ cup full fat milk and some ice in a blender and mix! Add a tablespoon or two of flax seed for some healthy omega-3s.

Fruit and Nut Plate – Plus!

We suggest going mostly for low glycemic fruits like berries, cherries, grapefruit, figs etc.

Throw in some walnuts, almonds and slices of avocado for fat and protein. For more fat, protein and flavor, add a side of cottage cheese or some whipped cream cheese for dipping (perhaps naturally flavored with some pureed strawberries).

Lovely, Lovely Lox

Get a jump on the day’s omega-3s by enjoying a little lox in the a.m. Instead of the traditional bagel action, down it as is (background chanting included), spread it with the obligatory cream cheese on cucumber slices, or throw it in a quick egg scramble with some chopped chive.

Primal Nutrition Shake

Another modest breakfast proposal. Run 2-3 scoops of protein powder with some ice through the blender. Add berries and/or some hemp or coconut milk to make it your own designer creation. Make sure your protein powder does not have any fructose added.  I recommend either whey or hemp protein.

Caprese Salad

Simple as pie. All you have to do is make sure you have fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella, and some ripe tomatoes on hand. Slice, layer and top with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. To add some meat to the mix, a side of tuna salad is a great accompaniment.

Leftovers

Don’t let last night’s dinner leftovers go to waste. Eating “dinner food” for breakfast can take some getting use to, but with a little practice “dinner food” and “breakfast food” just become food.

Once you learn to appreciate all types of food for breakfast you may find yourself cooking a little extra the night before to make eating on-the-go that much easier. Grill an extra chicken breast or salmon fillet, steam or sautee a few more veggies and toss it all in a bowl to make breakfast a cinch.

One last note: We understand that people are busier than ever. With that said, many proper breakfast recipes (scramble some eggs, cook up some bacon etc.) don’t really take all that long to prep and cook. Getting out of bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier could be the difference between a handful of nuts for breakfast and something much more satisfying.

This article was adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple

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15 Tips for Buying Organic, Real food on a Budget

Found this great list on how to save $$$ buying real food at the wonderful website Deliciously Organic

  1. Buy in season. This not only ensures you get the biggest bang for your buck, it also means your produce will taste “as it should” – full of flavor and perfectly ripe.
  2. Stretch meals with beans and grains.
  3. Become a member of a CSA or Co-op. Get a box of fresh, all organic produce for a fraction of what you’d pay at the store. Check Local Harvest for a CSA near you.
  4. Utilize pantry staples. Pantry staples reduce the need or urge to order out by ensuring you can whip up a meal with only a few fresh ingredients from the store.
  5. Order organic, unprocessed sweeteners from Amazon. They have a program called “Subscribe and Save” that enables you to buy products at a discount and get free shipping.
  6. Make your own alcoholic beverages at home.
  7. Make your own junk food . We all like to cut loose at times, but “junk” food can cost a pretty penny and usually isn’t very healthy.
  8. Grow your own herbs.
  9. Buy in bulk. Check out Azure Standard – it’s a virtual “whole foods” at incredible prices. You can find anything from grain to meat to sunscreen. Azure has drop-off locations through out the US. Place your order online (they also have a catalog) and once a month, meet at a specific spot. A large truck pulls up and the driver hands you your goods.
  10. Buy your organic meats straight from the farm and save hundreds each year. [13] Check Eat Wild to find an organic farm near you.
  11. Make your own whole grain breads, hamburger buns, pizza crust, and granola bars.
  12. Buy whole foods instead of packaged foods. Why pay for cardboard and plastic when you could use that money to buy food?
  13. Plan your meals. Meal planning saves money. It limits the spontaneous desire to go out to eat and you also only buy the ingredients you truly need.
  14. Be Discerning. If you can’t afford to buy entirely organic, choose wisely which items to pay more for. A good rule of thumb is to buy organic fruits and vegetables that have  thin skins (like apples and berries). These foods tend to absorb the most pesticides and herbicides. Here’s the list of the “dirty dozen” from the Environmental Working Group.
  15. Find coupons on the internet. A few of my favorites are: Mambo Sprouts, Stonyfield, and Organic Food Coupons.
Do you have any tips or suggestions on how you save $$$ buying real food?
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Sugar lurks in the most unlikely places…

This article is from a great website called Spoonful of Sugar Free

Sugar lurks in the most unlikely places, and it is everywhere! It’s like playing I-Spy in the ingredient list because it hides everywhere and disguises itself in many different names. Here is a list of all the names of “sugar” so that you can look for them on ingredient lists:

Agave nectarBarbados SugarBarley maltBeet sugar

Blackstrap molasses

Brown sugar

Buttered syrup

Cane crystals

Cane juice crystals

Cane sugar

Caramel

Carob syrupCastor sugarConfectioner’s sugarCorn syrup

Corn sweetener

Corn syrup solids

Corn Sugar

Crystalline fructose

Date sugar

Demerara Sugar

Dextrin

DextranDextroseDiastatic maltDiatase

D-mannose

Evaporated cane juice

Ethyl maltol

Florida Crystals

Free Flowing

Fructose

Galactose

GlucoseGlucose solidsGolden sugarGolden syrup

Granulated sugar

Grape sugar

HFCS

High-fructose corn Syrup

Honey

Icing sugar

Invert sugar

LactoseMalt syrupMaltodextrinMaltose

Mannitol

Powdered sugar

Raw sugar

Refiner’s syrup

Rice Syrup

Maple syrup

Molasses

Muscovado sugarOrganic raw sugarPanochaSorbitol

Sucrose

Sugar

Syrup

Table sugar

Treacle

Turbinado sugar

Yellow sugar

So many names! You don’t have to memorize all of them, though. Just use look for any kind of “sugar,” “syrup,” or anything that ends in “-ose,” and then stay away from it.

Here are some surprising foods sugar lurks in:

Condiments:

Ketchup is a major culprit. There are about 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon of ketchup. That is about a teaspoon of sugar per serving. It’s like someone put sugar in the salt shaker, and you are pouring it all over your burger! Most brands use high fructose corn syrup, too. I have yet to find a brand that adds no sugar. Thankfully, I don’t like the taste of ketchup anyway. Stick to the already sugar-free mustard if you need something to dip your fries in.

Pickles and Relish. Bread and Butter, Sweet relish, and sometimes even dill pickles have sugar. Check the ingredients, or make your own! There are lots of recipes out there, but you basically just soak your cucumbers in vinegar and any other spice you want: dill, onions, pepper, garlic, jalepenos…

Jam and Jelly. All pre-made, regular jams add sugar. Look for jars that say “just fruit.” Then check the ingredient list to see if it only has fruit in it. You can always use whole fruit to top your toast or peanut butter sandwich. Try slicing fresh bananas, strawberries, or apples.

Nuts and Nutbutters. Many nutbutters contain sugar, and some nuts are roasted sugar. Look at the ingredients. It should say just “nut and salt.”

Soy Sauce. All regular soy sauces I look at contain sugar. My favorite is liquid aminos because t is not only sugar-free, but wheat-free, too.

Yogurt

I do not eat dairy, but many of you like yogurt. Beware of all of the flavored yogurts. They all contain sugar. Your best bet is buying plain yogurt and mixing it with your own fruit. Caution: “Vanilla” is not “Plain.”

Cereal

Obviously, sugar cereals like Honey-Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cookie Crisps, and Frosted Wheeties have sugar, but did you know most plain cereals contain sugar, too? Regular Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Special K, Chex, and even the so-called healthy healthy cereals like granola contain sugar. Check the ingredients, or make oatmeal.

Canned Goods

Soups, veggies, fruit, or sauces. It hides everywhere. Check the ingredients.

Sports Drinks and Bars

All sports bar and all sports drinks have sugar. I have yet to find one that doesn’t. Also, watch out for protein powders.

Pre-Packaged Meals

T.V. Dinners, meats, frozen pizza.

Baked Goods and Breads

Tortillas, Breads, Muffins, Pancake Mixes, Crackers.

Miscellaneous

Dried Fruit. Chewing Gum and Mints. Extracts.

Check the Ingredients!!!

I cannot stress this enough! It hides everywhere. Also, products that say they are “sugar-free” are almost always sweetened with sugar-substitutes like maltitol, xylitol, splenda, or aspartame. Check, check, check the ingredients! It takes 10 seconds. You will be surprised at what you find.

Make your own!

When all your favorite foods have sugar in it, what are you supposed to do? Make it without sugar. This is one reason way I created this website, to show you all that you can make foods sugar-free.

Here is a recipe for sugar-free Barbeque Sauce. Most barbeque sauces contain all sorts of sugars. Just like ketchup, it has about 4 grams of sugar per Tablespoon. That is a teaspoon of sugar per serving.

Homemade Sugar-Free Barbeque Sauce

~This barbeque sauce is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, an, of course, sugar-free!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder (or 1 cove minced garlic)
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika (I suggest using smoked paprika)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • optional: 1 teaspoon hot sauce
Stir together thoroughly. Serve hot or cold on your favorite meat, bean, burger, or even as a dipping sauce for fries.
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Top 10 Superfoods For Women

I want to stress the importance of balancing blood sugar (glucose) and hormones when it comes to women’s health. Those two things form the foundation for radiant energy, stable emotions and better stuff in your jewelry box – both pleasant memories and shiny things.

To function optimally, the body must maintain blood sugar levels within the proper ranges. Extreme fluctuations cause roller-coaster hormones, which can lead to hissy fits, dish tossing and crying jags. It also leads to all kinds of health problems down the road. We can avoid the drama by keeping glucose and hormones in balance. That starts with nutrition and exercise. Yoga is my preferred form of movement-induced, hormone balancing (pun intended). Here are my food favorites.

Top 10 super-foods for women

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a long history as a functional food. Not only does this sweet spice smell and taste wonderful, it also helps control blood sugar and makes you feel full longer. It’s anti-microbial, helps fight candida and is a good source of fiber, calcium and iron. I add about a teaspoon of cinnamon to all my smoothies. I also sprinkle it over yogurt, add it to homemade granola, power bars and whatever else I can think of. I try to eat at least a teaspoon of cinnamon a day.

2. Broccoli

According to cancer researchers at the University of Michigan, a natural compound in broccoli inhibits breast cancer stem cells and helps block their self-renewal pathway. There are all kinds of studies regarding cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and similar green leafy vegetables) and their positive role in cancer prevention. Good stuff!

3. Fiber

Although not a food per se, fiber is so important for blood sugar balance, weight loss and overall health. I’m a huge fan and eat way more than the recommended amount. For a detailed post I did on fiber several years ago, check here. You’ll find all the information you need to boost your fiber intake. Make sure you do it slowly and drink lots of water.

4. Avocados

Avocados are high in fat, but it’s a healthy fat and worth adding to your arsenal of super foods. Plus, if you add avocado to a big green salad or a fresh salsa mix, you greatly increase the absorption of the other nutrients. Carotenoids (in tomatoes, peppers, carrots, greens, etc.) are fat-soluble nutrients that need to tag along with high-grade fat to be adequately absorbed and assimilated. Avocados are also a low-carb, high-fiber food source, which is great for balancing blood sugar and hormones (SO important).

5. Coconut

Another high fat food, but again, this is good stuff, so don’t be fat-aphobic. The key is to be very picky about your fats. Please check here for a detailed post I wrote a couple of years ago on the health benefits of coconut. I love the stuff! Eat it, cook with it, put it on your skin, slather it on your hair.

6. Dark chocolate and red wine

Hey, what can I say? Girls are programmed to lust after chocolate. Some super-girls even wear it (see photo above). Resveratrol, a substance in cacao and red wine, is the “it” supplement right now. But, in most cases, I believe we’re better off eating the whole food rather than taking supplements. Treat yourself on occasion (moderation, moderation) and eat a small chunk of high-grade dark chocolate. You might even pair it with 4 ounces of a nice Pinot Noir.

Past resveratrol posts: dark chocolate as health food, enlightened hot chocolate, carnival of love (red wine)

7. Beets and berries

Those of you who have following this blog for the past 4 years know I’m passionate about beets. Ridiculously so. I’ve been a beet girl my entire life. My mom says I ate them as a baby and grew up thinking they were dessert. I was lucky. I had a mom who fed me beets, spinach and broccoli during the explosion of processed foods. I can’t remember ever having a Twinkie, sugary cereal or Hamburger Helper. We ate real food, made from scratch. There are so many studies linking the nutrients in beets to good health that I won’t even try to list them all. Just trust me, they’re amazing. I have a lot of beet blog posts in my archives, but since summer is around the corner, here’s an ice cream recipe.

8. Apples

Apples are high in fiber, help balance blood sugar in several different ways (they’re magic), are anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, support healthy gut bacteria and are packed with goodness. Studies show positive results with age-related health problems as well (muscular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, etc.). I’m taking this “apple a day” thing seriously. Apples are sprayed with some seriously nasty stuff, so choose organic.

9. Swiss chard and leafy greens

Greens are true super foods. All greens are great sources of beneficial plant nutrients, but I’ll focus on Swiss chard since I’m on my “balance your blood sugar” rant. There’s a substance in chard (syringic acid if you must know) that has warrior princess power when it comes to blood sugar regulation. Chard (like beets) also contains a group of phytochemicals called betalains, which are high in antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory and promote detoxification.

10. Chick peas

How could I not include chick peas? Lucky for us, these little nutrient-dense namesakes help regulate blood sugar and are packed with fiber. I know, this blood sugar/fiber thing is getting tiresome, but it’s so important for long-term health, artful aging and hormone balance. Chick peas are also super high in the mineral manganese, which is an antioxidant involved with energy production. Who doesn’t want more energy? Check out one of my favorite roasted chick pea recipes below…

Just as important is what you don’t eat. Avoid processed foods, refined sugar, soda pop, too much caffeine or alcohol and junk food. Stick to whole foods with an emphasis on veggies and fruit.

Simple Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

One can of chickpeas (about 16 ounces)
1 tbsp olive oil (or more to taste)
½ tsp sea salt (to taste)
½ tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with foil.

Drain chickpeas. Rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Drain.

Spread chickpeas on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper (or chipotle, Old Bay, etc.). Stir with spoon until evenly coated with oil and spices.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes to desired crunchiness.

Chef Notes: Rinsing the chickpeas eliminates the sodium from the water in the can before you add healthy sea salt. Some folks roast chickpeas at a slightly lower temperature like 425 degrees or 400 degrees, but I like mine super crunchy. Be sure to check on them frequently close to the end as I do though. (I haven’t developed a fondness for burned chickpeas yet.) I usually check at 15 minutes and then give them one more quick stir. Some of the chickpeas may even pop and split open towards the end. That makes the chickpeas even better in my opinion as you end up with more crunchy surfaces. I’m not usually a fan of very spicy foods, but I love these cayenne-spiced chickpeas. They can be quite addictive actually.

Related Posts with ThumbnailsAdapted from the article by Melissa at Gluten Free For Good

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Get Past Your Sticking Point

Many people do really well with starting a healthier life, they start exercising and eating healthier – the metabolism gets into check and the body changes favorably. The difficulty comes when this honeymoon period ends and the body adapts yet there is still a bit of excess weight being carried. For those who don’t want to force their body into further weight loss with extreme exercise or starvation this is a tricky and frustrating time. The wiser and more long-term strategy is patience and coercing the body into getting leaner gradually, I have found a few things extremely helpful in this situation.

Three Lifestyle Changes and Diet Tips

1. Liver Detox – The liver is key for both Carbohydrate and Fat metabolism. Firstly the liver is in charge of keeping blood glucose within a normal range, this is because the liver stores excess glucose after a meal, then releases it to bring up blood glucose hours after a meal (glycogenolysis). In terms of Fat metabolism the liver metabolizes all kinds of fatty acids to burn fat and provide energy. For this reason it is essential we keep the liver cleansed and in good health to not only produce energy but to burn fat effectively.

The easiest way to start helping the liver is to start the day with the juice of one lemon in hot water. This triggers off phase one and two liver detoxification and starts up the digestive system for the day – make sure you don’t use boiling water on the lemon juice as this will negate the positive effects. This should stimulate the liver for 12-24 hours so doing it once a day in the morning is enough.

Lemon juice, specifically the phytochemical d-limonene, acts as a liver tonic and assists in digestion by clearing the detoxification pathways and helping the liver produce more bile. – John Meadows

There are also a variety of herbs that are useful in liver detoxification like Milk Thistle, Burdock Root and Dandelion.

2. Resistant Starch – This is a type of Fiber found in certain foods which rebuilds the guts good bacteria and stimulates fat burning by making our bodies use carbohydrate for fuel throughout the day and therefore improving lipid oxidation.

Resistance Starch significantly increased post-prandial lipid oxidation and therefore could decrease fat accumulation in the long-term. – Source

And while studies are not the be and end all I have seen first hand the effect an increase of RS in the diet can have. Especially in those who eat very little on a regular basis the simple addition of 1 half-ripe banana a day can sometimes trigger fat loss and reduce body weight set point in a couple of weeks – I know many people who got passed a weight sticking point when they started eating resistant starch on a regular basis, probably due to the increased fat utilization and improved gut health. See this post for more resistant starch info….

3. Psychology – Your mental outlook is a big deal, it seems the more frustrated we get and try to force something the harder it becomes to achieve as a reality. This principle goes for anything in life and certainly rings true for pushing your physique to the next level. It is a tough one to get over as it is only natural we sometimes feel frustrated, and stuck. The trouble comes though when this frustration tenses us up and disables regular rational thinking. It may lead you to acts of desperation like crazy amounts of exercise or dieting.

Easier said than done but all that’s necessary is a bit of – Patience, intuition when eating and a sensible exercise program in which you focus on doing exercise you enjoy when you feel like it. Add to this a belief that you will one day reach your goals, plus a belief that you have a strong metabolism that is efficient in burning fat and handling all kinds of food. The mind-body connection is very strong and I am a firm believer that we need a firm psychological state in order to achieve our goals.

The three factors above are not deal breakers but they are certainly things I have found people who are generally healthy but maybe hanging on to some extra baggage can use to help push things to the next level. Of course though the foundations are the most important so make sure you – Move Regularly, Eat a Wholesome Diet and Keep Stress at Bay.

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