Browsing Category: health/nutrition info

How emotional eating keeps you stuck

today, me will live in the moment. unless the moment is unpleasant, then me will eat a cookie.

Yesterday morning, I was doing a writing exercise that asked me to think about painful places I don’t want to return to, and how that relates to my current writing. As I mulled over possibilities, one that came back to me was late 2009, when my dad was dying. At the same time, my mom was slipping deeper into the grip of Alzheimer’s, and our kids were either away at college or soon to be there.

So many exits, all at once. All that loss brought out something in me I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years: eating because I just wanted to stop hurting — even if it was just for 30 minutes.

Continue Reading

When should I buy organic?

strawberries

I don’t always buy organic fruits and veggies. It depends on the prices, and how much of the food I’m going to eat, and how easy the surface is to wash. And also taste! Organic strawberries and carrots taste so much better than conventional!

But another factor is which foods tend to be most pesticide-laden. Every year, the Environmental Working Group puts together a handy two-part report card called the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

Here’s the list for 2015. (It usually doesn’t change much from year to year. But you can always google “clean fifteen” for the given year.)

What to buy organic - Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen - 2015

 

‪#‎foodismedicine #buyorganic – when you can.

15 tips to make eating healthy easier

tips for success on Paleo, Whole30, keto, or any new diet

I recently read a “30 Tips” post on Rubies and Radishes that had some great suggestions to make eating Paleo easier.Most of them will apply to any real-food diet. Just substitute the name of your diet wherever you see the word “Paleo.”

But… compulsive editor that I am, I edited it down to what I thought were the best 15 tips for eating Paleo/real food, and add a few helpful items and notes of my own. Here you go!

1. When you’re just starting, plan out meals and snacks several days in advance. This keeps you from caving in on busy days. Once you get the hang of cooking and eating this new way, it will be easier to throw together meals from your well-stocked kitchen. (You might want to read about how I stock my kitchen for easy meals.)

2. If planning all your meals seems overwhelming, try it in phases. Most people don’t need a lot of variety in breakfast, so find one or two healthy breakfasts that work for you and get those nailed down. Figure out how to prep your breakfast so it’s a no-brainer in the morning. (Here are some no-brainer breakfast options.) Then find a few lunches that work for you. (If you eat out for lunch, check out my Eating Paleo/Whole30 When Eating Out post.) Then move on to planning dinners.

3. For encouragement and inspiration, join Paleo Facebook pages. Here are a few:

Also, if you’re on Instagram, follow me at @janalovesrealfood: I often post easy lunches and dinners there, as well as Paleo-friendly restaurant dishes.

For example, here’s a tip from my Instagram pages: a breadless BLT kit using romaine leaves as a wrap makes an easy summer lunch!

Paleo made easier - breadless BLT

4. Cook meat in bulk, but don’t freeze it in a huge chub: portion it out into easy-to-thaw portions before putting it in the freezer. Hamburger, pulled pork, chicken, and your favorite kinds of sausage are all handy to have ready to deploy. You can also cook bacon in big batches and keep it in the fridge or freezer. Have you tried cooking it in the oven? So easy!

5. Dedicate time to prep ingredients every week. Or, if it works better for you, every evening after dinner, prep what you’ll need for tomorrow’s meal(s). Thaw anything that’s frozen. Chop up ingredients. Pre-mix seasonings or sauces. I’ve collected a few tips on ingredient prep, too.

6. Paleo eating and meal planning takes time to adjust to. Give yourself time and grace. Keep at it — it will get easier! It’s only hard until it’s routine.

7. Read labels. Learn to recognize sugar in all its disguises. Yeah, it’s overwhelming and kind of depressing at first, but it’s a necessary education.

cool-whip-lies-480

8. Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out how to substitute or recreate the unhealthy food you once ate. Instead of mourning the loss of food that makes you feel yucky, celebrate new food discoveries that make you feel great! As you stick with this, your taste buds will change and junk food will become less and less appealing.

9. Explore Paleo blogs and books. The more Paleo knowledge you have, the easier it is to stick with your new lifestyle! (Check out my books page.)

10. When you make dinner, make extra. Enjoy it for breakfast (yes, you can!) or lunch the next day, or pack it in the freezer for an easy future meal.

11. One of the hardest things about eating Paleo (or your personal version of it) is the social pressure to eat junk. Always have a plan before going to social gatherings. And focus on how that food is going to make you feel tomorrow! Tell yourself, “When I eat crap, I feel like crap.”

Can you eat that? I can, but I feel better if I don't.

12. Eat a satisfying meal before you go to parties so you won’t be tempted by unhealthy choices. Drink plenty of water while you’re there. Focus on enjoying the people, not the food.

13. If it’s a pot luck, bring your own Paleo dish (or two), because that might be your only healthy choice!

14. Likewise, have a plan for how you’ll eat when meeting friends at restaurants. Study up on tips for Eating Paleo/Whole30 When Eating Out.

15. Remember to get the sleep you need every night, and drink plenty of water. And several times a week, if not every day, try to get a little sunshine and gentle exercise.

BONUS TIP: Expect ups and downs! Give yourself grace if you slip up. As Melissa Hartwig says in Food Freedom Forever, “Insulting yourself over your food choices is perhaps the most damaging behavior of all.”

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Want to cook more healthy at home, but daunted by the meal planning?

Check out my “Meal Plan for People Who Hate to Meal Plan

It’s FREE when you sign up for my monthly newsletter!

…………………………………………………………………………………….

* (Read the original Rubies and Radishes post here, if you have a few minutes.)

Love it? Tweet it! Pin it! 🙂

 

Tips to make eating Paleo easier

The miraculous factory: You

As a hobby, Eric Holubow seeks out abandoned architectural spaces — like old factories, churches, theatres, and prisons. The spaces are usually in some state of decay, and Eric photographs them as an art project, but with a journalistic feel.

Here is one example, from the original article:

Designed in an inspiring Neo-classical style… the massive Richmond Power Station in northeastern Philadelphia was built in 1925…. The plant’s Turbine Hall, one of the biggest open rooms ever designed, once housed the world’s largest Westinghouse turbo-generators, which provided power to the city’s bustling industrial and residential sectors. Closed since 1985, the plant has been used as a set in a number of Hollywood feature films. Ironically, crews that use the structure have to provide their own power generators, as the dormant plant is… no longer connected to the region’s electrical grid.

factory/power plant - photo by eric holubow

I share his fascination for things crumbling, rusty, and history-laden — but that’s not what this post is about.

It’s about you.

Continue Reading

Cream and half-and-half; prices and ingredients compared

Organic Valley - cream ingredients + cost

My husband drinks copious amounts of cream every day in his coffee, and for ages I just picked up the Kroger brand cream at Dillon’s. Then one day I noticed that the ingredients list included more than just cream…

Kroger brand cream ingredients

What the… ?

Food and health geek that I am, of course I had to look all those things up.

I frequently refer to Chris Kresser’s site, because he seems to do a good job of looking carefully at what the facts say, not just passing on the latest hysteria. His take on carrageenan:

“Carrageenan has been frequently portrayed as significantly more harmful than is supported by available evidence. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a known carcinogen, and although some studies implicate carrageenan in ulceration and inflammation, some show no adverse effects…. Because the evidence isn’t conclusive either way, I recommend avoiding carrageenan, especially if you have a history of digestive problems.”  (source)

(Interesting side note: Carrageenan also shows up frequently in commercially made soy milk and almond milk.)

Mono and diglycerides are synthetic fats derived from either vegetable oils (not a good thing) or animal fats. (source)

Polysorbate worries me a bit. Some mice studies have shown that “relatively low concentrations” of polysorbate-80 “induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type [mice] and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder.” (source)

In English? If the mice study holds true for humans, even a small intake of polysorbate-80 could cause general inflammation and/or pre-diabetes in anyone, and severe colitis in people who are genetically prone to colitis.

So, not conclusive evidence, and not terribly precise. But if I can find an easily accessible, not too expensive alternative, I’ll go for it.

Which of course means more research! So I hit a couple stores and gathered some intel. This isn’t exhaustive research, by any means, but it does make me feel like I’ve done my homework and can make an informed decision.

Here are various brands of cream available at Dillon’s and Whole Foods Market in Wichita KS, and their ingredients and cost per ounce.

——————————————–

Kroger - cream ingredients + cost

——————————————–

Hildebrand - cream ingredients - cost

As reader Mary O. reminded me, local dairies are almost always a better bet than national brands, and you may be able to find local cream for much less outside the grocery store. Google and ask your health-minded friends for local sources.

——————————————–

Organic Valley - cream ingredients + cost

——————————————–

Kalona - cream ingredients + cost

——————————————–

And, just to be thorough, here’s some info on half-and-half, as well:

Kroger - half-and-half ingredients + cost

Note: Disodium phosphate and sodium citrate are salts used to preserve foods or improve their consistency. I couldn’t find any research on either of them.

——————————————–

Kalona - half-and-half ingredients + cost

——————————————–

So, my research concludes: The most pure options are the Hildebrand cream, the Kalona cream, and the Kalona half-and-half. Of these, the Hildebrand cream and the Kalona half-and-half are the cheapest and similar in price.

Note: Hildebrand products come in glass bottles which cost an additional amount for deposit, but if you return them to the store, the deposit is completely refunded. Whether it’s worth the extra hassle is your call.