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)