Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nutritional Yeast Question

I recently had a comment on this blog concerning nutritional yeast.  The poster had heard that nutritional yeast could act like MSG.  MSG is just plain something that we all should avoid.  Maybe at some point I'll post some research on MSG so you can see what I mean.  I found varying points of view on the issue of nutritional yeast and a blog that had some information that summed it all up and had many comments that could help someone make the decision on nutritional yeast for themselves.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why This Blog?

Why am I blogging about food?  That's a great question.  This blog has 0 - yes zero followers.  I do get some occasional readers and I think I've had 4 comments.  A little pathetic, I know.  Mostly this blog is for me.  I can  write my successes and failures with food, put recipes that I'm trying all in one place, etc.  My secret hope is that maybe others or even one other person will find something helpful and hopeful in what I write here.  Today I want to tell you part of my story.  This story is the reason I feel passionate about nourishing foods.  Not just eating but looking at food as if every bite counted toward health.  The fact is, each bite does count - good or bad.

Why, as mothers (and father too), do we neglect our own health but when needed, we will move heaven and earth to help our children or spouse.  When you think about it, what wouldn't we do for our children?  My story doesn't start with my children and I'm nowhere near the end.  This story won't be for everyone to read.  It gets kind of personal at times and maybe a little TMI but it is what it is.

I had warning signs of health issues very early in my life.  My skin was covered in excema.  If someone with impetigo breathed on me I would break out with it.  I remember a family reunion where I was covered in bandages because impetigo was all over my body.  It just occurred to me that kids must have thought I was a freak growing up!  In the eighth grade I started my journey into womanhood and boy was it rocky.  I had anxiety so bad that it was interfering with my life.  I have always been really active.  Hiking, biking, running, water and snow skiing, soccer, etc. and always slender.  So why was I having such trouble?  I married my awesome hubby pretty young, 18.  I remember telling him that we better not wait to try having kids because I was pretty sure that I had endometriosis.  E ran in both sides of my family and my mom had a really bad experience with it.  Sure enough, we had trouble getting pregnant.  As a matter of fact, we chose adoption over infertility treatments to have our first four beautiful children.  The endometriosis was getting so bad that I was having 1-2 good weeks out of every month.  I predicted that I would have a hysterectomy around age 30.  My anxiety was getting so bad that I started having compulsive thoughts and actions.  I didn't want to live like this but I was only trying hit or miss things to make things better.

I came to a point where I decided to have the hysterectomy.  Nothing worked out for that to happen and I ended up changing my mind.  Thank heavens for that!  My mom started on a new "diet" that eliminated the "whites."  I thought, why not try it.  I thought we were already eating a fairly healthy diet but it wasn't nearly as good as I thought.  I made a really tasty french bread and pizza.  We had the typical mac n cheese, store bought wheat bread, and all the other processed goodies that make up the typical American diet.  Stepping back a bit, I have a son that was having numerous behavioral problems.  He would scream for an hour or more at a time plus a multitude of other things.  We tried a variety of things and then took him to a former nurse who now practiced natural medicine.  She told us he was pre-diabetic and gave us some stuff to take to help with his obvious sugar cravings.  We eliminated sugar from our diets.  So now we had eliminated white flour and sugar plus we added in all types of grains, wheat, spelt, kamut, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.  I was feeling great!  Best I had felt in a long, long, time.

Out of the blue, 17 years into our marriage, I was pregnant.  It was quite a shock.  There could be many explanations to why it happened.  Maybe it was Heavenly Father's timing.  I think it had a lot to do with how good I felt, my endometriosis symptoms fading away, and eating nourishing foods...  To be continued.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Best Stir Fry Ever! GF

I don't know if I have ever mentioned my new love, Bountiful Baskets.  If you've never heard of BB - it's a co-op for fruits and veggies.  There are also other things that can be ordered like bread, sometimes honey, olive oil, etc.  I've been ordering and picking up baskets for almost a year now.  The fruits and veggies have been amazing!  This past week I added on an Asian pack to the basket order.  It was HUGE!  Last night I made the most delicious stir fry.  I didn't exactly measure anything in this recipe.  I couldn't find a recipe that matched what I had for a sauce and so it's made with what I had on hand.  This was my first time trying fresh water chestnuts.  Much better than the canned variety.  Next time, I'll use rice noodles instead of brown rice.

Doesn't this look yummy!

Asian Sauce

1 clementine orange
1 slice fresh pineapple
1/4 C soy or tamari sauce
grated fresh ginger to taste
tsp or so of apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, pressed

Blend all ingredients well and set aside.

Stir fry

Pre-cooked chicken, cubed (optional)
Bok choy leaves and stems cut up
Asian cabbage cut up
Fresh snow peas
Fresh water chestnuts peeled and cut up
Carrots cut in strips
Diced green onions
Any other veggies or greens that you like in stir fry

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan, including sauce.  Saute for 5 minutes or less.  Serve over rice or noodles!

Green Smoothie Girl

Friday night I had a fun opportunity.  I was able to go see Green Smoothie Girl.  Honestly, I really didn't know much about her although I scoured her website, watched all her videos, and read some of her blog just prior to going to hear her speak.  The things she said just validated the journey my family and I have been on for the past few years.  You see Robyn (Green Smoothie Girl) changed her life because her son needed her to.  In the process of helping her son, she also helped herself.  She overcame 3 autoimmune disorders during the process. One of these days I will share my whole story with those reading my blog.  Nothing Robyn said was news to me.  We have pretty much come to the same place on our own separate journeys!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It seems like granola is one of those items that everyone has a recipe for and every recipe is a bit different.  I've got a basic one that can be made according to your likes.

8 or more cups of oats
1 C coconut oil or butter
1 C Agave or honey
1/2 Cup ground flax
1/2 C ground quinoa
2 C dried fruit (anything you like, raisins, prunes, dates, cranberries, etc.) diced

Place oats in a large bowl.  In a large frying pan melt coconut oil.  Add flax, quinoa, and dried fruit and stir together.  Pour wet mixture in to oats.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread mixture on cookie sheets and "dry out" in a 175 degree oven.  Turn over every 20 minutes until mixture is dry.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Works Best For Weight Loss?

     For most of my life, I was under the impression that keeping a healthy weight was mostly due to exercise.  It wasn't until about 4 years ago that I've ever had to think about weight.  I've always been really active and ate fairly well.  Then I had two babies.  My weight at the first Dr.'s visit of my second pregnancy was the same as what I weighed on the last appointment before I delivered the first baby!  I couldn't seem to lose that weight no matter what I tried.  My sister then pointed out an interesting fact about exercise.  A person has to burn 3500 calories, over and above what the body needs for daily activity, in order to lose 1 pound!  We need somewhere around 2000 calories per day in order to function.  That amount can vary according to our physical activity, weight, etc.  It only makes sense that we turn to what we eat as the culprit of our inability to lose weight.  One thing to remember is that if we don't eat enough, we will hold on to weight.  It comes down to what we eat.  I'm not a calorie counter and I will never be.  IMO, the most important thing to remember is to eat foods that are filled with nutrition.  Nutritious foods will fill us up and give us energy.  You've heard of an empty calorie?  What does that mean?  That means that a food we have eaten has nothing of value in it.  If the food eaten has no nutritional value, my body will not feel full and I will crave more food that has no value.  Exercise is also extremely important to our bodies.  It helps us strengthen, tone and keep moving.  Our heart, lungs, muscles, etc. need the exercise to feel good!  FEEL GOOD!  Make a good choice today!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gluten Free Diet Thoughts

I don't have any research to back up this post, just my own opinion and observations.  When my children first started the gluten-free lifestyle, I did as much reading as I could on healing.  I soon realized that healing needs to be defined before you can decide when it happens.  Would it mean that a person could eat gluten again?  Would it mean that the person in question had energy and vibrancy?  My research was fairly conclusive that a person would never be able to eat gluten again.  However, there are some folks that believe otherwise.  I believe that anything is possible.  I decided that I couldn't know for sure if the kids could ever eat gluten again but I would be able to tell when they felt and looked great.  At first, I didn't see this happening and had to figure out why.  Then I realized that I was just trying to replace gluten foods with gluten-free copycats and I had abandoned some of the principles of good health that we had practiced previously.  It really wasn't all bad, the kids needed to feel some comfort in the foods they ate and not feel completely different from their friends.  I can say that two out of three of my gluten-free kids are doing great and feeling great most of the time.  They have realized that even though some foods are gluten-free, that doesn't mean they are good for you.  For instance, store bought, gluten-free mixes are packed with sugar and flours that are mostly starches.  These make the mixes taste good, but they aren't great for you.  We've since decided that our choices would center around produce, legumes, etc. and the other would have a small place at the table.  Truly I can say that the family members that have embraced these choices truly are healthy!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Do I Get My Family To Eat Better?

     I have heard, many times, "my kids won't eat that!"  I have some ideas for encouraging healthy eating habits in a family.

1.  Work on changing one thing at a time.  Nothing seems to derail a change in diet like doing too much at one time.  Food changes can be overwhelming.  Once you have mastered one change, move to another.  I usually suggest eliminating sugar first (unless there is a food allergy or intolerance) because it is the most obvious and the easiest to work with.  Sugars would include all whites - white flour, white sugar, etc.  

2.  Everyone in the family has the same food choices.  Several years ago it was thought that one of my sons had pre-diabetes.  My husband and I decided that we would eliminate white flour and sugar from our diets so that our son could feel better.  If we had just eliminated sugar for our son, it would have been very difficult for him to watch the rest of us eat sugar-filled items while he couldn't.  After some time with a nearly sugar-free diet we learned that the real problem is gluten and that three of our children have some degree of gluten intolerance.  Our whole family went gluten-free for quite some time.  Now that the three have a handle on their foods, we have allowed for some wheat breads to come back in to the house - mostly for cost sake.

3.  Only have good choices available.  My sister and I had a conversation the other day about food choices.  If a child has a choice between an orange and animal crackers, the child will generally choose the animal crackers.  This can be the hardest step in change because it requires cleaning out the cupboards and fridge and getting rid of the foods that we wish to take out of our diet.

4.  Make good foods convenient.  Another difficult part of changing to healthy foods is that they are often not convenient.  That might mean peeling and cutting fruit and veggies ahead of time and having a healthy dip prepared.  I wash and tear lettuce when I get it so that anyone in the house can have a salad at any time.  Instead of wasting lettuce, it is gone very quickly now.  At this time, I can't keep enough homemade popsicles in the freezer because they are eaten so fast.  It takes a bit of time to prepare them but it is SO worth it.

5.  Let your kids be part of the preparation.  Nothing helps a kid want to eat a food like helping to make that food.  Also, let them be part of the planning  My kids know that if they don't like something we are eating, they can't complain.  They may go make something for themselves (we have parameters set) or choose not to eat.  It sounds harsh but it has actually solved many a problem in our home.

I would love to hear your ideas for helping a family make better food choices!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nutritious Popsicles

How do you get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies?  Make them in to a fun snack!  This popsicle
has almond milk, oranges, a little agave, and ice.  I wanted to show the chocolate popsicles but they were
gone as soon as they were frozen.  That one contains avocado!  Any smoothie can be made into a cold treat.
You can get all sorts of things in to smoothies from spinach to pineapple.  Give it a try!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

I am pretty excited about this recipe.  Mostly because it's my own creation AND it tasted so yummy.  I put cheese in it because I told my 8 year old I would.  Next time I won't.  It didn't need it at all.

1 cup grated or blended carrots (I used 3 large carrots processed in my Blentec
1/2 a large onion chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups broth or almond, soy, or dairy milk
1 - 1 1/2 large avocado
1 cup of cheddar cheese (optional)
2 cups cut and cooked broccoli

Place carrots, onion, and broth in stock pot and simmer until onions are tender.  Place chosen liquid in blender with avocado and blend until creamy.  Add avocado mixture to stock pot and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Stir in broccoli and serve!

This picture does not do it justice!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I am so excited.  My husband, after watching a food documentary, decided it was time to take charge of his health.  Okay, so I've been telling him this for years but if a documentary will do it, it's great!  It's always good when he's 100% on board with something because he researches and buys the best gadgets to make it happen.  Hence, the Blendtec.  Can I just say, "it's awesome!!!"  I made fudgesicles with avocado, yummy, lots of smoothies, soup, cookies, pizza dough, etc.  I just found this blog and can see that it is going to be good, .
Brent's and my goal has been to reduce our meat and dairy.  Veggies and fruits are now the center of the diet and the meat is either not present or a side dish.  This has been going on for a couple of weeks and Brent has lost 5 lbs.  He's also added the stationary bike to his routine.  I'm still needing to add in an exercise routine.  I'm at my target weight already but would like to be more physically fit.