Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 90- The End

I have reached the end of my little experiment.  I must say I started it with a lot more enthusiasm than when I finished.  If you recall, the whole thing started after I read the book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan.  I also watched the movie Food Inc. around the same time.  I think I need to go back and re-visit both.  I have also been using Pollan's book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual as sort of a guidebook.  But I haven't stuck with it that much.

This summer I was really motivated to change and I was visiting the farmer's market weekly.  Things completely fizzled out for me by October as I was stuck back at the grocery store where "whole food" is a lot more expensive.  It's very discouraging to me that unhealthy convenience type food is so cheap and more healthy whole food choice and organics are so expensive.  I guess you have to decide if it's worth it.  Right now I am back working so convenience is winning out.

There are things I will stick with.  I have really limited the diet soda, artificial sweeteners, low fat and "lite" items.  I am consciously aware of high-fructose corn syrup and soy products.  I really don't buy much off the shelf grocery store meat or eggs any more.  The drive-thru is a rare treat and it gives me indigestion.  I still like McDonald's french fries. (yeah, I know...)

I'm also much more aware of what kind of cleaning products and cosmetics I'm buying- instead of always just the cheapest kind.  I was excited that CVS had some organic shampoo on sale last week.

I'm probably going to go back to my other blog- The Working Mom- because I am a working mom again.  It's still tough and I'm not that thrilled about it.  So this whole thing did not change the world or anything but I hope you had something to think about.  Thanks for reading.  Good luck and have a happy holiday season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 85- Thanksgiving

Nearing the end of my 90 day experiment that has been kind of lagging the past two weeks (darn job that got in the way).  This week is Thanksgiving and I am actually not cooking this year- but I found a wonderful farm near us that raises organic free-range turkeys and chickens and I might order one next year.  I have never cooked a fresh bird before so we'll see.

Now that it's almost winter, I find it harder and harder to acquire and eat locally-grown whole foods.  I have been back to buying packaged foods again from the grocery store.  I have even had fast food a couple times. And (gasp) now that I am working again I find I can't make it without a Diet Coke (I don't drink coffee).

I am thankful that I had this experience and I will wrap up next week with some take-aways and then this blog will be done.  I may start up my old blog again (The Working Mom) so you can head over there.

Here is a recipe for sweet potato casserole I am making this year:
2 lg can yams or sweet potatoes
(I just baked 6 whole sweet potatoes for about an hour and scooped them out with a spoon)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs beaten
1/2 c milk (I used evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Drain and heat sweet potatoes in a pan, mash with butter.  Add sugar, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix well.  Pour into ungreased 9 in glass dish.  For topping mix brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and nuts until crumbly.  Sprinkle on top of sweet potato.  Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.  Double recipe for 9 x 13 pan.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 76- Meatless Monday

I had this idea a little while back but I never implemented it.  Food Rules: An Eater's Manual #23 "Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food." Or more like a condiment than the main course.  I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought we could try to eat one meatless meal for dinner once a week.  And use the money we saved to give to charity.  In our case we are saving the money up to give to our church for Missions (as in missionaries).

Tonight we are having pasta with plain marinara sauce instead of meatballs.  I am saving about $5 on frozen meatballs. Do you have any favorite meatless meals? Here are some good ideas from another blog (not just rice and beans).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 73- Make your own

The other day I talked about cosmetics and home cleaning products.  Do you know you can make some of your own products?  The benefit is they are usually pretty cheap to make and you know exactly what is going in it if you make it yourself.

One product I make all the time is daily shower spray cleaner.  This is really easy to make- just save a used spray bottle from something else and rinse it out well.  You can find the directions here.

I know a number of people that make laundry detergent from scratch.  It sounds pretty easy and I think it makes a huge batch.  I have not tried this recipe yet.

You can even make your own deodorant- take a look at this one.

Finally, here are some instructions if you want to give up using shampoo to wash you hair. (I don't think I'll be doing this one!)

Do you make any home-made products?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 70- What goes in and what goes on

Sometimes what goes on your body is just as important as what goes in.  I am not an environmentalist, or a tree-hugger, or part of PETA.  But... the more I read the more I think I want to avoid certain chemicals in cosmetics and beauty products.

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used in cosmetics and beauty products.  While there is no proven link (yet) parabens are apparently found in small amounts in breast cancer tumors and like soy, parabens have an estrogen effect.  Yet again this is an ingredient that is found in just about everything you will find in your bathroom.  If you put something on your skin it is probably absorbed. The FDA says parabens are OK and safe to use. Here is a pretty good list of paraben-free products and it also talks about some other ingredients such as phthalates and SLS (sulfates). I say buyer beware and you might want to look for less chemical laden products especially for children.  It seems that fragrance-free products may be a little better but not totally free of these chemicals.

Para-dichlorobenzene or p-DCB is found in air fresheners and toilet bowl cleaners.  In animal studies, p-DCB has shown a link to liver and kidney cancer.  Clorox Green Works and Seventh Generation products are good choices for the bathroom.

Phthalates are a type of chemical used in makeup and lotions and well as nail polish.  Phthalates also have an estrogen effect and may be associated with early puberty.  Phthalates are banned in Europe and in the U.S. are banned in child's toys.

I found a really nice grapefruit scented body lotion from Noah's Naturals at Walmart that is paraben-free.  Kiss My Face and Burt's Bees products are generally paraben, phthalate and sulfate free.  The Burt's Bees website gives a very good explanation of "natural" products.

I was reading the November issue of All You magazine and there is a good article on this topic if you want to read more- you can pick it up at Walmart.

To check if your favorite home product or cosmetic is certified "natural" check the NPA seal website.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 64- Running Out of Steam

I am on Day 64 of my 90-Day journey and I am running out of steam.  I think I know what happened.  You know when you start something new and you are all eager and excited? That was me for the first 30 days.  Then life really kicked in.  First I came down with a cold.  Not a big deal.  But then I didn't feel like exercising, or eating right.  And then we went on vacation and forget it.  And now I started a new job and I am feeling really swamped and pressed for time.  So I don't have time to shop properly or eat properly.  And now farmer's market season is over so I'm stuck mostly going to the grocery store.  And I'm not following my own rules.  I think I need to go back and read some of my own old posts!

How are you all doing?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 60- Almost Halloween!

Well, I'm 2/3 of the way done with my 90-day journey.  I've gone backwards a lot in the last couple weeks- first I was sick with a cold and then we went on vacation.  I know that shouldn't be an excuse- but that's life and we move on.  I'm going grocery shopping today and going to move forward.

This weekend is Halloween and we have Trick-or-Treat on Sunday.  Yes, we do participate and I do pass out candy (although I did toy with the idea of passing out individual silly bands instead of candy).  My daughter had her party at school and came home with some candy- we've been rationing it out a piece at a time.  I found a good idea on another blog about buying back your kids candy after you let them keep a few choice pieces.  Another idea is to let them keep 10 pieces and have the Great Pumpkin take the rest (kind of like the Tooth Fairy).

Hope you have a good weekend. November is next week and I start a new job on Nov. 1st- wish me luck!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 59- "Natural" vs Organic

As I've said before, I'm not totally on the organic bandwagon.  I do buy some organic foods but not everything.  But one thing you should be aware of is the term "Natural" or "All Natural" on a food label.  What does it mean? Absolutely nothing!  Any manufacturer can put the word "natural" on a product and it's just marketing.  It doesn't mean the food is more healthy or even more "natural" (whatever that means).

If a product is labeled "USDA Organic" it means the following:
  • No chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used
  • Food is not genetically modified (GMO) or irradiated
  • Meat and dairy is free of growth hormones and antibiotics
  • Animals are fed organic feed and have access to outdoor pasture

If you want to read more about the USDA Organic standards go here to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture website.  If you want to check on the "dirty dozen and clean fifteen" produce list go back to my post here on Day 23.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 57- 4 days of no vegetables

We just got back from a little vacation to Florida and I feel like it was 4 days of having no vegetables- except for maybe some lettuce and onions on a burger.  Yes, we ate everything and anything.  And drank Diet Coke- pretty much the whole time.  I did have some orange juice and it's really fresh down there.

So now that I feel pretty yucky- time to get it in gear.  Fortunately we did walk- A LOT!  We had a really fun vacation and now back to the real world!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 55- Don't be fooled

Food Rules: An Eater's ManualOne thing I have learned.  It's hard to pick pre-packaged food that is "healthy".  Yes you can make better choices, but if you are trying to eat "whole food" you are going to have trouble with just about anything that comes in a package.  Food Rules # 8 "Avoid foods that make health claims".  Food Rules #9 "Avoid foods with the words lite, nonfat or low fat in their names." (usually code for more sugar or salt) Food Rules #10 "Avoid foods pretending to be something they're not." (for example margarine or egg beaters)

On this blog- 100 Days of Real Food- Lisa helps explain the ingredients label and what might look like "health food" is not necessarily so- part 1, part 2, part 3.  It was a real eye-opener to me! Watch out for the words made from "multi-grains" or just "wheat" instead of "whole wheat".  Did you know most "wheat" bread is just like white bread- they just make it look brown with caramel coloring?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 50- Scrambled Eggs recipe

Wow Day 50 already! Last week was a complete bust as I was sick with a cold for about 4 days and didn't do anything.  I love eggs and I found this yummy sounding scrambled egg recipe on another blog that calls for cottage cheese and spinach.  Do you know that combining spinach with scrambled eggs makes them more healthy for you?

Here is the recipe from Kitchen Stewardship- she also has a great post if you are just starting a whole food journey and wondering where to start,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 48- So What About Soy?

So what about soy? Is is good or bad or what?  I think you should generally tend to try to avoid soy (except for perhaps tofu).  Soy is not really a nutritional "food".  It has been genetically engineered in the United States to grow where other plants may not grow, and it is genetically engineered to be resistant to Round-Up (yes- that's the herbicide chemical that kills weeds).

My major problem with soy is that it is in just about everything!  It is way harder to avoid than even high-fructose corn syrup.  Take a look at any ingredient label in your kitchen right now- do you see any of the following ingredients?  Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable protein concentrate, vegetable oil, MSG (monosodium glutamate), soy protein isolate, soy lecithin, textured vegetable proteins and, the most prominent of all, soy oil.  Try to find something in a package that does not contain one of these ingredients- you will have a hard time.

Some of the possible side effects of consuming soy are: estrogen effect in men, women and children due to phytoestrogens, blocking the absorption of calcium, digestive problems and upset stomach, impairs thyroid function, increases the body's need for Vitamin D and B12, weight gain, and possible cancer links.

Soy is popular because soy is cheap. It provides cheap feed for animals- and contributes to the same effects in animals as in humans. The American Soybean Association is a powerful political lobby in Washington. The number one producer of soybean seed in the U.S. is Monsanto- the same company that makes Round-Up.  Pretty convenient, huh?  You can find more about soy in Kaayla Daniel's book
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food.  Google "dangers of soy" if you want to read more.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 45- Giveaway Winner

I have been sick with a cold all week and feeling yucky.

The random winner of the Food Rules giveaway is...

Katherine- with the homemade Cheez-Its comment.  I'll contact you by email shortly.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 43- What happens when you try to get your kid a flu shot

I took my five year old to the Health Department Flu Shot Clinic and she was not happy about it at all.  First the nice lady explained she wouldn't be getting a shot at all- they have the Flu Mist nasal spray.  She watched a few other kids- who didn't cry. But as soon as it was her turn, she clamped her had over her nose and started screaming.  So, yeah, I had to bribe her.  It took an offer of a trip to McDonald's for a Happy Meal.  I held her arms down and she got it.  Then off to McDonald's we went for a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal with Fries and a Strawberry Shortcake toy.  It was her first Happy Meal since August.  She ate the whole thing in record time.  Oh well...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 42- Tip The Scales Tuesday

I've been sick since Sunday with some kind of cold or something and Umcka is not helping!  So I've just been eating whatever and sleeping a lot.  Not good as I wiped out the previous losses.  I did get outside for a walk today it was beautiful outside today.  I love the fall leaves.  Don't forget my giveaway here until October 15.

How was your week?  When you're sick do you eat more healthy, or do you just eat whatever feels like comfort food?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 41- A Giveaway!

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
Welcome to Day 41 of my 90-Day journey towards eating more healthy foods.  I've been a little off track lately, so I think I need to go back and review Michael Pollan's Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.  This little book contains 64 "food rules" that are little tips towards eating more healthy.

To help you today, I am giving away one copy of Michael Pollan's book Food Rules.  All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment with something you liked or learned on one of the other days of my blog.  Please leave a comment below with your email.  I will need to contact you if you win.  To get a bonus entry, share this post on Facebook, or Twitter, or on your own blog.  Please leave another comment below if you link to this blog.  The winner will be chosen randomly from all the comments on Friday October 15 @ 8:00am.  Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.

Good Luck!

(the contest is now closed- thanks)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 38- Like Butter

We've talked about eggs. We've talked about milk.  Now lets talk about butter- or margarine.

Butter is a dairy product made from the cream of cow's milk.  Margarine is a butter substitute made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. Don't let anyone fool you- margarine is not a health food. Margarine also contains trans-fat.

Here is an article from the Cleveland Clinic that discusses some of the pros and cons of butter and margarine.

If you look at a package of butter the ingredients are usually milk, cream, salt (maybe beta carotene for coloring).  If you look at a margarine package you are going to see a whole list of oils, emulsifiers, additives, preservatives, and things you can't pronounce.  Many types of margarine are now labelled "0 trans-fat".  This is not true because all hydrogenated oils (corn oil, soy oil) contain trans-fat.  Butter is also available in an organic version.  Here's another article about butter vs. margarine.

My bottom line is butter is better, in moderation.  If you have a significant cholesterol problem you may want to limit the amount of butter you consume.

By the way- did you know that butter is sold in sticks in the East part of the U.S. and blocks in the West?

Western butter

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 37- Got Milk?

Let's talk milk. First thing right off the bat I will say- I don't drink milk.  I mean like a big ol' glass of cold milk- yuck.  I do cook with it and occasionally put some on my cereal- but I don't really like cows milk at all.  I use almond milk (either Almond Dream or Blue Diamond/Almond Breeze ) on my cereal.  But my family does like to drink milk, so I do buy milk. Although we don't go through a lot. (I don't drink soy milk either, but that's another story.)

I'm not a nutritionist or any other kind of "-ist" so I'm no expert on milk.  The notion of drinking another mammal's milk kind of creeps me out.  But if you're going to drink cows milk, should you be buying organic milk or what?  Since we don't go through very much milk, I usually buy the store brand.  The milk from the store I shop does not contain the hormone rBGH (bovine growth hormone).  I also have been buying whole milk or 2% as opposed to skim or 1% milk.  Lower fat milk often has additives put in it to make it more creamy appearing.  A search around the Internet turns up possible links betwen prostate cancer and low fat milk.  All commercially sold milk is pasteurized- or heated at low temperature to kill the bacteria.  This also destroys some of the nutrients.  Vitamin D is usually added to commercial milk.  Milk sold in a plastic jug is usually regular pasteurized and milk sold in a carton (including organic milk) is usually ultra-pasteurized.  Meaning it is heated even more, which destroys even more nutrients.  However organic milk usually has a longer expiration date.

Fresh or raw milk from the farm is harder to come by unless you know a farmer.  It is actually illegal in some states to sell non-pasteurized raw milk except as animal feed.  I recently bought some whole milk from Hartzler Dairy in Wooster, but it was pasteurized not raw. (By the way I didn't like it at all- it has a very strong taste.)

Milk and eggs.  Usually these are the top two items recommended if you are starting to go organic.  Dairy cows living on large commercial factory farms do not have a happy life (regardless of what the California Dairy Council wants you to think) .  They live most of their lives in a small pen.  They are not allowed to graze on grass but are fed hay or grain or high protein "cow feed".  They are given hormones and antibiotics to grow larger and produce more milk. Their young calves are taken away so the milk is not "wasted" on them and are basically fed cow "formula".

Organic milk should be free of hormones and pesticides.  It does cost more, sometimes much more than regular milk.  There was an interesting discussion on Money Saving Mom on whether organic milk was worth it. Here is an argument against organic milk, saying it is just a marketing ploy to make more money (organic milk can cost 2 to 3 times more than regular milk.)  There also appears to be some discrepancy with regards to what "organic" means in regards to milk. 

My bottom line is I think I will continue to buy store brand milk that is rBGH-free but not necessarily organic. Do you buy organic milk?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 35- Tip The Scales Tuesday

I am just back from the gym and it is cold and rainy and gloomy outside.  I think we are going to have a cold wet autumn here.  Once again this week I was really hit or miss with working out, so I am doing week 1 of TBL 30-Day Junpstart again!   Also eating wise, I could have done better.  There was one day I was just starving and I didn't get to eat anything until about 10:00am and I grabbed Burger King for breakfast.  It was quick but it was not very good.  I did stay off the Diet Coke all week- but water is getting really boring and I don't like it with lemon.  I did have some VitaminWater and I liked that pretty much but I try to to drink very much of it.  So this week I came in at xx5 (I actually weighed in yesterday).  So -2 overall, at least it's not going up!

Off now to take some Vitamin D!  How was your week?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 34- First Month- Let's Review

I am more than a month into my little experiment of trying to make more healthy food choices.  So far I have bought farm-fresh eggs.  Given up Fast Food (yes, I have had Wendy's once and Burger King once for breakfast- it was not very tasty.)  I shopped at Whole Foods (really expensive) and Trader Joe's (more fun). I avoided high-fructose corn syrup- although this is a work in process. I gave up Diet Coke and my headaches subsided- but I still crave a cold icy glass often. I weighed in every Tuesday and I have not seen the scale move much.  I started The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jumpstart (but I have not been very consistent.)  I picked apples, shopped at local farms, and ate grass-fed beef.  Someone asked me if I felt loads better and truthfully I don't feel any different.  Maybe because I have not been completely consistent. And maybe because this is still a process.  I do know my cholesterol levels have come down (I have also been taking a fish oil supplement.)  For the next month of the journey, I want to focus on being more consistent with exercise and looking at incorporating more of the Food Rules.  I'm also planning a give-away contest coming up soon.

One thing that has been difficult is the cost of buying "better" food. Other than produce being rather inexpensive during the summer months, other healthy foods are quite a bit more expensive.  And it is so much more time-consuming to cook from scratch!  It's way easier to get carry-out or make Hamburger Helper (which is so gross in my opinion).  But it takes a lot of time and effort and planning to cook healthy meals.  (OK end of whining.)

Leave a comment to let me know how you are doing- I would like to hear from you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 31- My apple crisp recipe

We went apple picking today and you can't beat a big bag of apples right off the tree for $5!

My Oatmeal Apple Crisp recipe

6 apples, peeled, cored, sliced, chopped
grease bottom of 8x8 baking dish with butter
put chopped apples in the dish
sprinkle 1-2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon over the apples

In a large bowl mix:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
melt 1/2 stick butter and mix with all ingredients together
spoon over apples and bake for 45 min at 350 F


(Frugal Friday at Life As Mom)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 30- Eat Local Challenge Oct 2-8

When the government recommends something, I usually tend to want to run far away.  But this is actually a good idea.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture challenges you to eat locally grown food.  For one week plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are grown or raised in Ohio.  Here is a link you can use to click on your county and accept the challenge.

Local Harvest is a fantastic site for finding local farms, farmers markets and CSA's. Ohio Proud is an Ohio-grown food and agriculture site. One of my favorite things about this time of year is picking apples.  Go here to find PYO sites in Ohio. The Good Earth Guide at OFFEO is a guide to organic growers on Ohio.

Many grocery stores will also feature "locally grown" produce throughout the summer and fall.

Food Rule #19- "If it came from a plant eat it. If it was made in a plant don't."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 28- Tip the Scales Tuesday

Ha- thought I forgot about it didn't you?  I had a bad day yesterday because I was sick with a cold but I'm feeling better today.  I saw someone eating Wendy's for lunch and I came "this" close to getting some chicken nuggets and a Diet Coke but I did not.  I have been doing the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jumpstart DVD workout for a week.  Parts of it are really easy but parts I struggle with so I am going to repeat week 1 this week.  My morning weigh in was xx6 (yes that's -1)!  I am still trying to walk every day but I didn't walk yesterday.

How did you do?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 27- Super easy pumpkin cookies

I made these last night and they are all gone- so no photo of them.

1- box spice cake mix
1- 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)

Heat oven to 350 and mix both ingredients together in a large bowl.  Spoon batter onto a cookie sheet (I use parchment paper) and bake for about 12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and serve.  Add 1 cup chocolate chips or raisins or nuts if desired. Makes about 3 dozen soft cookies.  If you have a small pie pumpkin they are really easy to bake and you can use your own pumpkin instead of from a can.

More pumpkin recipes at Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 25- Trip to the farm to buy beef & eggs

Yesterday we drove out to the country to a farm that raises free-range Golden Buff chickens and grass-pastured black Angus cows.  We got a dozen eggs for $3 and 5 pounds of ground beef for $3.99/lb. (That was all the beef they had left for now- until they slaughter the next steer.)

My daughter enjoyed the pumpkin display and the farm cat the most!  It was a nice ride and I think we will go back in a few weeks when the trees change.

Saturday Shopping Superstars at Thrifty Mama.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 24- How to exercise for less

Over at Life As Mom there is a feature called Frugal Friday where you can share your money-saving tips.

One thing that may stop you from exercising is the cost.  Yes it may be pricey to join a gym- especially if you have to sign a year-long contract.  If you look for a no-frills kind of a gym rather than a fancy health club, it may be quite a bit cheaper and you may be able to pay month to month.  Also what ever sales pitch they try to sell you on, ask for a better deal- it never hurts to ask!

One very free way to get some exercise is of course to get out and walk.  If you have bad weather there is always the mall- often they open early just for walkers (watch out for those seniors they'll run you over).  If you have stairs in your home or at work you have your very own stair climber- no cost!  You can often find a cheap bicycle or other exercise equipment at a garage sale or on Craig's List.

Another free option is the library.  You can find diet and exercise books and DVD's.  I get just about all my books from the library- I rarely buy books but when I do I get them used from  One more free option, if you have cable TV, check if your cable offers free on-demand videos.  Mine offers The Biggest Loser workouts and many others for free.

Here's some free walking resources from the American Heart Association.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 23- Why buy and eat organic food?

Food Rules #27-  "Eat animals that have themselves eaten well." Animals raised for food should eat what animals eat naturally.  Like grass.  Not other animals parts.  They should not be given growth hormones or antibiotics to make them grow unusually fast and large.

Food Rules #30- "Eat well-grown food from healthy soil." Organic food is usually grown well and pesticides and chemical fertilizers are avoided.  But all organic food is not necessarily healthy.  I don't think organic Oreos are any better for your diet than the regular ones!

When I am picking food either at the grocery store or at the farmer's market, I try to buy locally grown, in-season produce whenever possible.  Here is a list of the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" fruits and vegetables.  I like to try to follow this list when I can- although organic produce is more expensive. Generally fruits and vegetables you eat whole like apples and peaches are the most "dirty", and those you peel like corn or watermelon are the "cleanest". The latest study has a shown a link between pesticide exposure and ADHD in children.

Organic food is more expensive.  I have read if you are going to start somewhere, start with organic eggs and milk.  Laying hens on a commercial factory-farm are raised in terribly crowded indoor conditions.  Even those marked "free-range" never go outside they are just kept in large indoor pens instead of cages.  They are given hormones to speed their growth at an abnormal rate. Their beaks are clipped off to prevent them from pecking each other.  Commercial milking cows also spend their whole lives in a stall in a huge barn.  They don't go outside to graze.  They stand in their own waste.  Their calves are taken away from them and fed commercial feed.  Only beef cows generally get to graze in a pasture.  I am not a vegetarian, but I have a hard time eating commercially raised beef, chicken and pork except for locally farm grown or organic grass-fed.  For more information see Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, or Animal Factory by David Kirby.

Organic foods should also be free of GMO's or genetically modified organisms (aka- genetically engineered). Although because of cross-pollination some GMO's are finding their way into nearly all the food supply.  Just about all soybeans grown in this country for food or for feed are GMO's.  Right now I challenge you to look at any package of food you have from cookies, to salad dressing, to candy bars and you will see an ingredient called "soy lecithin" or "soybean oil" or just "lecithin".  It's everywhere!  For more on GMO's and soybeans see The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin or Food Inc. DVD by Eric Shlosser and Michael Pollan.

There is a great Eating Organic Series at this blog- Your Green Helper.  She also lists money-saving tips for buying organic, green and eco-friendly products. Mambo Sprouts- great site for coupons for organic items.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 21- Tip the Scales Tuesday

It's weigh-in time!  How did you do this week?

A little about my week.  I did not eat any fast food.  I did not drink any diet soda.  I probably ate some HFCS as I'm sure I ate some candy this week.  I did not exercise every day.  A so-so week.  We did have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farm.  I will be introducing some new Food Rules this week.

So, did you all weigh in today? How did you do?  I am still at xx7- so no loss, but no gain!

Check out my 30-Day Jumpstart challenge and tune in for The Biggest Loser tonight on NBC.  I'm outta here- going for a walk!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 20- The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jumpstart

The Biggest Loser: The Workout - 30-Day Jump Start
Are you ready for a challenge?

There are a bunch of people out in the blogosphere doing the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred challenge.  I tried to do just one day of this and all I can say is- no way!  So I am starting the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jumpstart with Bob Harper.  It's supposed to be five 10-minute workout sessions.  Has anyone ever done this DVD? Or the 30 Day Shred?  I have also been walking a mile a day and I need to step it up. Oh, and drink more water.  Gee, maybe I really do need Jillian.

The Biggest Loser premiers Tuesday September 21 at 8pm on NBC.

Today's challenge: get some kind of exercise every day for the next 30 days. Are you with me?

(you can also check out Commit to Fit at $5 Dinners. )

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 19- Apple picking at the apple orchard

Today we picked about a 1/2 bushel of Jonathan apples at the apple orchard (for $5!).  Now we have lots of apples to eat and cook and bake with.  It was really fun and we're going to go back as other varieties come in season. We made a batch of this applesauce but then I realized my food chopper was broken- so it turned out extra chunky. (Like pie filling)

Stay tuned for a new challenge tomorrow...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 16- Fall Means Apples!

Every fall I go with my daughter's class to the apple orchard.  We hear the story about Johnny Appleseed.  We get some Gala apples (my favorite). As far as produce goes, apples are on the "dirty dozen" list for most pesticides used.  You can print a copy of the list here.  Generally, fruits that have rinds are OK but fruits you eat whole are more of a problem.  (not always but in general) Of course you should wash all your fruit- whether you are going to peel it or not. I usually try to buy local, in-season fruit whenever possible- but not always organic fruit.

Easy Microwave Applesauce Recipe:
  • 6-8 apples peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water or apple juice
  • 4 TBS sugar or other sweetener to taste

  • place in large microwave-safe glass bowl
  • cover loosely with wax paper
  • microwave on high for 10 minutes
  • stir and continue to cook until apples are tender
  • mash with a fork
  • cool before serving

Thursday Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life As Mom.

(BTW- today is our 10 year wedding anniversary- thank you!)

Dinner tonight- Crockpot peanut chicken stew- package chicken thighs, one can diced tomatoes, one can drained chickpeas, onions, garlic, two dollops peanut butter- cook all day on low.  Really good over rice or linguine.  Can also add curry sauce if you like.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 15- Works For Me Wednesday

Every Wednesday, Kristen at We Are That Family hosts a blog carnival called Works For Me Wednesday.  There is usually a topic of the day and you can post your own tip or link up your blog. 

She is talking about her new ministry in Kenya, Africa a maternity home called The Mercy House- go read the story here. She is also hosting a giveaway today.

Have a great Wednesday!