Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Detoxify Your Life - Healthy Fats

Day 3 of the Detoxify Your Life Challenge from is here!  Today is all about FAT!  Sometime in the last 20 years, everyone began to associate being overweight with consuming fats.  The food market began pumping out all kinds of foods labeled "Fat Free" or "Low Fat".... yet the obesity epidemic has continued to skyrocket!  All these chemicals added to food in order to make them "low fat", or "fat free" have since been proven to be more harmful for our health, and actually a cause of unhealthy weight gain.  Check out the labels of foods that claim to be "fat free" or "low fat", the natural fats have been stripped away, but often replaced with starch or sugar and sugar substitutes to replace the flavor of the natural fat content.  It's probably better if you avoid any product labeled "fat free" or "low fat" and instead, focus on getting natural foods that are already low in fat.  Also, there is such a thing as "Good" fat, and certain fats are necessary to help us have a balanced diet and a properly functioning body!  Just cutting out fats alone will not make you lose weight, as our society is quickly learning!  Especially when these fats are simply being replaced by unnecessary sugars, chemically altered sugar substitutes, and addictive nutrient free starch!

Healthy fats can actually lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.  They also improve brain function, improve your mood, provide energy, and help the health of your skin, hair, and fingernails.  Monounsaturated fatty acids are one example of healthy fats and can be found in Avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and poultry.  Polyunsaturated fats are also beneficial to your health and are most commonly found in fish such as salmon and mackerel.  There are a few sources of saturated fats which are also considered to be good for you (although most sources of Saturated fat are not good for you, if you get them through the right sources they are proven not to increase cholesterol levels) and these are the fats from coconut oil, organic grass-fed beef, and butter that is organic and made from grass-fed cows.  The fats to avoid are called "Trans fats" and these are typically found in fried foods, and any food with oils added.  Another name for Trans fat is "partially hydrogenated oil" and this should be avoided.

Today's challenge is to find a recipe using a "healthy fat" from this list of foods which naturally contain the best kinds of healthy fat.

Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Beef (Clean / Organic / Grass Fed)
Salmon (wild caught)
Poultry (Clean /Organic / Free Range / Vegetarian Fed)
Raw, Organic Butter (from grass fed cows)

Find ways to incorporate these healthy fats into your cooking, snacking, and general diet.  Avoid the things with Trans Fats and Partially hydrogenated oil, as well as staying away from things labeled "Fat Free" or "Low Fat".

My Favorite easy Salmon recipe!

Honey-Mustard Broiled Salmon

Wild-Caught Salmon Fillet
2 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole Mustard Seed
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

In a bowl, mix together everything except the salmon.
Place thawed salmon on baking tray, skin side down.  You may want to line the tray with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Use a spoon to place the honey mustard mixture on top of the salmon in a thick layer.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let some of the flavor soak in to the salmon.
Turn broiler on high to pre-heat.
Place the salmon under the broiler, 6 to 8 inches below heat source.  Broil for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon.  Cook until it begins to flake easily with a fork, but be careful not to overcook or it will be too dry!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Detoxify Your Life - Protein Challenge

For Day 2 of the 28 Day Challenge from, we are learning about Protein.  Protein is an essential part of your diet.  All Proteins that you eat are converted into amino acids that our cells need in order to function properly.

There are a few things everyone should know about protein.  First of all, most of us were raised with the "Protein Myth", to believe that the only source of real protein is through meat products.  While meat products DO provide protein, they are not the ONLY source of protein available!  Getting our protein from a variety of sources is very important, because we need to make sure we are getting as many different amino acids as we can.  There are 20 different kinds of amino acids, several of which our body cannot create on it's own and we need to get them through our foods.  These are called "essential amino acids".  The best way to make sure we are getting a variety of the 20 different kinds of amino acids is to get a variety of proteins in our diet.  When people let go of the myth that "meat is where I get my protein", they become open to other great sources of proteins and essential amino acids which will help their body function at it's very best!

Some non-meat high protein foods are;
Cheese (especially Mozzarella and cottage cheese)
Tofu, Soy, Soy Beans
Beans; Kidney beans, White beans, Lima Beans, fava beans, black beans etc
Eggs (especially egg whites)
Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
Nuts and Seeds (pumpkin seeds, almonds, etc)
Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds

I'm not saying you should or have to go vegetarian, just that it is beneficial for you to make sure you are getting your protein from a wide variety of sources!

The other thing everyone should be aware of with protein; is it safe?  Do you know where it came from?  In the case of meat... how was it raised, what was it fed, how was it processed?  When it comes to other protein sources that are plant based; were they grown naturally?  Organic?  Are they from genetically modified crops?  I know how it is, you're thinking "I would go crazy if I knew the truth about my food and where it came from.  I'd rather not know."  You're partly right, once you know the truth about this stuff, you can't forget it.  You can't un-know it.  But in this case, is Ignorance Bliss, or is Ignorance a death sentence?  Studies have linked the consumption of conventionally raised meats with cancer and heart disease, hormonal disorders, etc.  The long term effects of Genetically modified foods (GMOs) is still uncertain, but early testing of animals has shown a direct relationship between GMOs and cancer.  The sad truth is, the food industry isn't interested in the quality of what they produce, as much as they are in the quantity, and in the end... the profit.  So, even with your meats, there are healthy protiens in them... yes.  But what else are you getting along with those proteins?  I'm pretty sure a side effect of cancer or early heart disease is not what you wanted when you bought that steak.

What to do about it?  Here is what you need to look for;

Clean Protein Options

  • Organic, grass fed beef
  • Organic, free range chicken and turkey
  • Wild-caught fish
  • free-range, organic eggs
  • non GMO Soy

There are several documentaries available now which explore these ideas and the truth about the food industry.  I would highly recommend you watch these;

Hungry For Change -
Food Inc. -
Food Matters -
Frankensteer -
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead -
Vegucated -

People tell me "I don't want to know."  Just stop.  You NEED to know.  The only way we can make a change is to first wake up and be aware, and then we can know what changes to make!  The more people start changing their eating habits (and their shopping habits), the industry will follow suit and change to provide the people with what they want!!

Today's Challenge was to substitute the protein in one of your favorite recipes with a "clean" protein from the list above.

This morning I had my daily protein shake.  I love using Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein Powder* to make shakes, because it is high in protein, has essential amino acids, plenty of vitamins, and it is made using non-GMO Soy!

Today's recipe;
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cup Almond Milk
3 Tablespoons Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein
1 tablespoon Flax Seeds
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

Put everything in the blender except for the Chia seeds.  Blend until smooth.  Add the Chia seeds when you pour the smoothie in a glass.  Stir & enjoy!

*If you are interested in purchasing the Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein, or curious about other Shaklee brand products, contact me!

I also went to the store and found some Organic, Grass Fed beef to use in our spaghetti!  

and a couple other things I found at the store, while I was in the process of locating clean and healthy proteins;

Monday, September 9, 2013

Detoxify Your Life, Day 1 - Grains

I have signed up at 360YourLife for a 28 Day Challenge to Detoxify your life!  I will share here what I learn, and my journey along the process!!  You can sign up for the next 28 Day Challenge HERE  (it starts in October) and try it yourself, or just follow along with what I share here!  I do suggest you sign up at 360YourLife because you will have access to some very informative blogs, newsletters, and videos!

For Week 1, we are learning about Nutrition, and how to get the most out of what we eat!  In today's blog and newsletter, Brooke told us about the differences between refined grains and Whole Wheat.  Most things on the shelves and in your cupboards are probably Refined grains.... the pasta, bread, cereal, pizza dough, etc. that is all made from refined grains rather than Whole Wheat.  In a refined grain, such as white bread and pasta, White Flour is the main ingredient.  White flour is simply the endosperm of the grain....leaving out the bran and the germ portions  and leaving behind just the center of the grain which is primarily starch.  This makes it low in nutrients and vitamins, lacking in fiber, and the starch transforms to sugar in our blood stream leading to sugar spikes.  White Flour has been linked to diabetes and Heart Disease, among other illnesses.  It is also addictive!  Because of the "sugar spike", we feel a temporary high (although our body has received very little nutrition) and then a "crash" later on where we feel tired and hungry again.  So, one of the simplest ways to eat healthier is to switch to grain products that are 100% Whole Grain.  This way you get the entirety of the grain, not just part of it!  You get the nutrition, vitamins, and fiber that help you balance and digest the starch of the endosperm.  Just as nature intended, it's better for you in it's complete form!! You want things that have the FIRST ingredient listed as Whole Wheat Flour.  To help you find these items, The Whole Grains Council has created This Stamp which you will see on foods that are made with Whole Wheat Flour instead of White Flour or refined, over-processed flour.  Also check out this website for more great information on the Health Benefits of Whole Grains!

I don't buy White Bread, but after this challenge I will be making sure to check the labels on all bread!  Some so called "Wheat" bread simply adds Wheat Germ to the refined White Flour in order to call it Wheat Bread, but this is not the same!  Look for Whole Wheat as the FIRST ingredient and check for the Whole Wheat stamp! As a bonus, the bread I found also has NO High Fructose Corn Syrup added!  Score!! Here are a couple things I found at my local grocery store (not a health food store, just the grocery store I normally shop at)

Uncle Ben's Whole Grains Medley - Brown & Wild Rice - $1.29
Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread - $2.99
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest 100% Whole Grain Spaghetti - $1.99

After discussing Whole Grains, Brooke at 360YourLife talked about Gluten Free options.  Just switching to Whole Grains alone is helpful, but you are still possibly harming your body.... because let's face it... even too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  If you eat the recommended daily servings of Grain (6 to 9 servings a day) but you are only getting grain that comes from Whole Wheat, you will be denying your body the variety of nutrition it needs.  There are a number of health problems that have been linked to Gluten, which is found in Wheat products.  Some people may choose to go 100% Gluten Free and avoid gluten altogether, but if you simply substitute some of your Wheat grains with Gluten Free options, you are giving yourself a more balanced intake of grains.  Grains that are Gluten free are considered to be "sprouted grains", which are significantly higher in protein, vitamins, and enzymes.  They are much lower on the Glycemic Index (G.I.), which means they are digested more slowly, keeping you feeling fuller longer.  Also, since these grains are digested more slowly, there is a more gradual release of sugars into your bloodstream as the complex starches are converted into natural sugars; reducing the "sugar spike" you see from processed grains and wheat products.

Today's Challenge was this; Choose ONE of your favorite grain foods and swap it out for a Gluten-Free option.  I couldn't pick just one!  Here is what I was able to find at my local grocery store.  Again, I was surprised I didn't have to go to a specialty health-food store to find these things!  If you look close enough, they are available to you!  Also, the price difference wasn't that much, I felt satisfied with the amount of money that I spent on these products! 

This one isn't new to our household, it's a family favorite. 

I found these Delallo brand Gluten-Free pastas.  We eat a lot of pasta in our house, so it's worth it to try something new!  These were on sale for $2.89 each.

Private Selection Wild Rice - $1.59  Wild Rice is a perfect example of a Sprouted Grain that is not processed or refined.  You get all the good benefits of a gluten-free grain.

Village Harvest Quinoa - $5.19.  Quinoa is another good example of a gluten-free Whole Sprouted Grain.

Blue Diamond Nut-Thins Crackers - $2.57 each.  Wheat & Gluten free, these crackers are made from nuts and rice! 

Food Should Taste Good brand Multigrain Tortilla Chips - $2.59
My kids LOVE to snack on chips!  These ones are Gluten Free, made from Brown Rice, Flax, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds, and Quinoa.

So, in completing today's challenge, I think I have a good variety of snacks and side-dishes for the week that are either Whole Grain or Gluten Free!  Off to a good start!!  Remember if you're doing this challenge, the goal is to just pick ONE thing in your pantry and switch it out with a gluten free option.  You don't have to go all out like I did, just pick one thing and make a change! Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; Tombstone, AZ


Aromatherapy Bath Time for Headache or Migraine

Aromatherapy Bath Time!

One of the best things I have found to help with headaches and migraines is a nice soothing bath with aromatherapy!  I just wanted to share a couple of the products I use for a bath with aromatherapy to help soothe my headaches and migraines!

First of all, I light candles in the bathroom.  This way I can take a bath with the lights off, but am still able to see well enough that I don't slip and fall.  This is great if you have sensitivity to light during your headache or migraine.  But, you should be careful when using scented candles, as the perfumes used can sometimes make a migraine or headache worse.  Use non-scented candles, or a scented candle that you have used before without any side-effects.  You may want to try this aromatherapy candle, specifically designed with scents to help soothe a headache;

I found this blended "bath tea" at a local shop and I just love it!  They have a few different aromatherapy scents available, and of course my favorite for headache or migraine is the one called "Headache" at the bottom of the list.

I also like to add in a few handfuls of Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution in the Chamomile scent.  There is also a Lavender scent available but I find the chamomile scent to be the most helpful for headache pain.

You may wish to roll up a small towel to place under your neck for some neck support while you soak in your hot bath.  Breathe deeply and evenly to get the full benefits of the aromatherapy, and allow the hot water and Epsom salts to soothe away muscle pain and tension.

For migraines, this is not a cure, but it can help shorten the duration of your migraine or reduce the severity of the symptoms.  It can help you relax enough to get some sleep.

I hope this helps anyone who suffers from Migraines, tension headaches, or headaches in general!  You may also be interested in my previous blog post; Migraine Relief Kit