REAL FOOD MONDAY ~ Real Food Budget Recipe June 05 2017, 0 CommentsMy goal is to always try and serve real, whole food options. At first I thought this was going to be more expensive than the traditional SAD( Standard American Diet). But it is not. When done right, real, whole foods can be less expensive than the fast processed stuff so many people eat.
A prime example of real, whole foods done right is this Mediterranean Farro Salad With Spiced Chickpeas from BUDGE BYTES. They have some really good, budget friendly recipes, made with whole food items.
When making this recipe you do not have to use Farro, you can choose other grains like Couscous or Quinoa. This dish is delicious, perfect for summer and fits into my budget. The whole thing takes about 20 minutes to make
MEDITERRANEAN FARRO SALAD WITH SPICED CHICKPEAS
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 15oz can chickpeas
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp cayenne (optional) $0.02
- Freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a mill)
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups cooked farro (or other grain)
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- ¼ bunch parsley
- To make the dressing, combine the tahini, water, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside until ready to use (keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days).
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a colander. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the drained chick peas. Sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (if using), and some freshly cracked pepper over top. Stir the chickpeas to coat in the spices, then continue to sauté for about five minutes, or until the outside of the chickpeas are slightly browned and blistered. Season with salt to taste.
- Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley. Place about ¾ cup cooked farro in each bowl, then top with chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, spiced chickpeas, and a large pinch of chopped parsley. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve.
recipe and photos from BUDGET BYTES
OUR SUMMER SOLSTICE CSH IS HERE! you can only order until June 13th. Limited supply
Perfect Imperfections May 24 2017, 0 Comments
Most of us spend our days trying to keep all the balls juggling in the air. We strive for what society tells us is perfection...our looks, our family, our home, our work. Most days we do really good job of faking it. Then one thing happens and the house of cards come crashing down.
In today's world it is easy to get pulled into to the quest for perfection. Our heads are filled with messages like “Never good enough” and “What will people think?” Our car isnt new enough, our home not big enough, our bodies not model perfect. It comes at us from all angles. Striving for perfection is exhausting...yet we keep striving , even when in our heads and heart we know there is no such thing as perfect anything. Yet we strive for it because we think if we are perfect enough we can avoid the pain, the judgement, the blame that might come our way.
But maybe there is a different way....maybe instead of striving for perfection, we should start finding the beauty in our imperfect life. Maybe we should take time to be grateful for the blessings in front of us. When we are striving to be perfect we are missing the joy of the moments, the moments that in the end, make our life.
Over the years, again and again, I have been reminded that perfection is not always what we need in our lives. What we need most is to find things every single day to be thankful and grateful for. We need to embrace our blessings before us.
In the last few years the beauty of imperfection has become even more clear for me and for my family.
For several years we had been wanting a homestead, a place to retire. We never could find the "perfect land" in a price we could afford. It wasn't happening. Then we changed our expectations. Three years ago we went with good enough. We found 10 acres in the mountains of western NC. It was on a hill side with a smaller yard and garden space than we envisioned. But it had 2 natural springs, bordered national forest, was across the road from a beautiful waterfall and the price was half the property value. We bought it the same day we looked at the property. Yes we have improvements to make but it feels right. It feels like home. No it is not the perfect homesteading land but it is more than "good enough". More importantly it feels like home. There is a peace in the imperfections..
After moving into what we thought would be our retirement home we were hit with a family crisis. The next thing you know we are raising two young grandson. We are dealing with trauma and stress. Not the perfect retirement I imagined. We had to readjust our thinking and our lifestyle overnight. Together the 4 of us have held tight to each other. We have overcome In this unconventional family we found blessings and love overflowing in the imperfections
Now our days are full We are homesteading, slowly building and improving our land. We are parenting again at the ages of 56 and 66, finding joy in 2 young boys running around the homestead.We are are moving towards a simple life, being grateful everyday for our blessings in all forms.
No our life is not perfect, I stopped trying to make it all perfect. I cant keep all the balls in the air all the time. And that is ok because our life is beautiful in its imperfection.
DIY Real Food Recipe~ Healthy Almond Milk ( frugal too!) May 24 2017, 0 Comments
When it comes to dairy we buy only organic, which can be very expensive. I like to use almond milk for things like smoothies, some baking and some of my soups. But organic almond milk can be expensive as well. My solution is to make my own almond milk!
I have tried several recipes. Some of them just did not taste very good. In others I could not justify the cost. Then I stumbled upon a recipe that was pretty good and made the cost to make it was great. After some "tweaking" ...oh my. I love it!
The recipe is simple but you will need to do some planning. But it truly is worth it!
Healthy Almond Milk on the Cheap!
- 1 & 1/2 cups of almonds
- 1 gallon of water ( purified if you can)
- 1 whole vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract ( I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Madagascar it is preferred by professional bakers)
- 3 large pitted dates
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- Optional - Sweetener to taste ( raw honey or molasses is my favorite)
DIY ~ Better Than Calamine a poison oak/ivy remedy May 23 2017, 0 Comments
Well it is spring around here. Which for us means lots of outdoor time on the land, fishing, kayaking, hiking and along with that comes poison oak or poison ivy! Itchy, yucky stuff.
Hubby and I are clearing land on the hillside behind the house, We need more garden space and terracing is the only way to do it. Tons of poison oak up in the woods...sooooo we have poison oak. Our two grandsons have built a fort and hide out further up the mountain. They have ran up there every afternoon when they get home from school..sooo they have poison oak too. everywhere. itchy, stuff that popped up last night. They are not happy with the poison oak or me. I did not have my "remedy" made up in preparation for the poison oak invasion. My eldest grandson we call Trail Runner, got up this morning and stated firmly " Nana it is time to make you poison oak remedy". I agreed. I call this miracle working poison oak and ivy remedy, Better Than Calamine. As you can see it is not pink. But it works 100 times better than Calamine or any other over the counter treatment we have tried.
After the boys left for school I decided to make the Better Than Calamine, that Trail Runner was talking about ( Trail Runner is his Appalachian Trail name. we hike, a lot ). It works wonders on poison oak and poison ivy. I have seen bad cases dry up overnight! This afternoon when the boys come home relief is waiting!
Almost Calamine Remedy
4 teaspoons bentonite clay
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoons sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 of water
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil
1/2 teaspoon of glycern
In a bowl whisk together the baking soda, salt, benonite clay and water. Adding enough water to make the blend smooth. Next add in your tea tree essential oil and glycerin. Mix well. Transfer into small jar with lid. Store in fridge until ready to use. Simply apply as needed. Usually 2 to 3x a day. let dry on body.
DIY ~ An Easy To Make Dandelion Oil May 18 2017, 0 Comments
I love dandelions. They are bright, cheerful and some of the first herbs I can wild craft come spring. The entire plant is both edible and medicinal. I make teas, tinctures, salves, oils, vinegar, wine and salads from this amazing little plant.
It saddens me to see people spraying to kill off this healing herbal. I am not sure how dandelions became the bad guys in the lawn, or who decided they needed to be killed off with harmful pesticides. Dandelions are pretty, useful and healing. On the other hand, the pesticides used to kill them are usually nasty and dangerous to our health....When I see dandelions I see a pretty, healing, herbal plant.
In the spring the first thing I make when dandelions go into bloom is Dandelion Oil. It is easy to make and extremely versatile. It can be used to soothe dry ski. Dandelion oil makes an excellent massage oil to help with muscle aches and pains while reducing tension and stress. I highly recommend it as a wonderful breast massage oil. It is highly praised for therapeutic breast massage. A recent published study suggests that dandelion possesses the therapeutic ability to eliminate heat, alleviate swelling and inflammation.
Dandelion Oil is simple to make and a great addition to your natural medicine cabinet.
What you need
- Dandelion Flowers
- Olive Oil or other base oil
- Quart Jar
- Mesh Strainer
- Cheese Cloth
- Vitamin E Capsule
- Glass Jar
1. Gather your dandelions! To gather you dandelions, find a place away from the road and free from pesticide spray. Pick them on a sunny day. Make sure it is later in the day, after the dew has dried.
2. Get enough dandelions to fill a mason jar at least 3/4 of the way
3. Once you bring the flowers home spread them out on a drying screen, cheese cloth or even paper towels. Due to the water content of the flowers you need to allow them to set over night. This removes the moisture from the plant. Remember oil and water do not mix.
4. Place your harvested dandelion blossoms into a clean, dry quart mason jar. Filling between 3/4 of the way to no more than 1 inch from the top. Do not pack the jar. Keep the blossoms loose.
5. Slowly fill the jar with organic olive oil or another carrier oil like grapeseed. You will see little air bubbles floating to the top. I use little wooden skewers to stir down the blossoms and encourage the air bubbles to release. Air, like water can cause oils to spoil. Cover tightly with a lid
6. Place the jar in a warm and sunny spot and let it steep for two weeks. Unlike most infused oils, which generally require four or more weeks, dandelion oil only requires two-weeks. Since the flowers have so much moisture in them, steeping longer than two-weeks increases the likelihood of developing mold.
7. Every couple of days check the oil and gently shake it to encourage the blossoms to release their healing properties.
8. After 2 weeks place a cheesecloth in a strainer and strain the oil into a clean sterilized bowl. Press on the blossoms to get all the oil out then squeeze the cheese cloth. Pour the oil into a clean sterilized jar. Add the oil of one vitamin E capsule to help keep the oil viable.
You now have your dandelion oil ready to use. If there is more than you need share it with a friend. Or Two
Note: All oils can go rancid. Use oil within one year. Keep in a cool, dark place.
Green Blessings ~ Tamara
2 Simple Steps To Help Lower Blood Pressure May 16 2017, 0 Comments
A while back my husband Joe went to the doctor. His blood pressure had been running pretty high. Staying around 160/100 and at times even higher. His doctor explained that at the age of 65, this is a common. And even though my husband is very healthy and eats well, these things happen as we get older. The doctor wanted my husband to start on meds ASAP. Instead Joe asked for some time to go home and try to lower it on his own. The doctor was very skeptical but agreed if Joe would take his blood pressure a few times a day....
We knew our diet was very healthy. That is extremely important when looking to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The next step was to look at herbal treatments. I wanted to just use a couple at first, keep it simple to see what works. Joe ate one clove of fresh garlic a day and took 2 full droppers of our Motherwort Tincture at night. In just 3 weeks his blood pressure was down to normal! It has stayed this way. He continues using garlic and Motherwort Tincture.
Oh the doctor was amazed...He simply told Joe to keep doing what he was doing because it was working!!
FRESH GARLIC ~ Several studies show that garlic lowers blood pressure. Researchers of a review study published in 2008 in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders concluded that the higher the starting blood pressure, the greater the reduction in the blood pressure after treatment with garlic. 1/2 of a large clove or one whole regular clove daily is recommended
MOTHERWORT TINCTURE ~ is the herb of longevity to the Japanese. , Motherwort increases vascularization and has been called "bypass in a bottle" . We started with just 2 full droppers a day and it worked. You can use a dose of 10-20 drops ( NOT full droppers), taken several times a day.
REAL FOOD MONDAY ~ 15 Minute Seared Tuna Dinner May 15 2017, 0 Comments
As the days grow longer and warmer, I look for simple, easy, real food recipes. This Seared Tuna with Saved Root Vegetables is perfect. It is ready in about 15 minutes. Plus it is delicious.
Seared Tuna with Shaved Root Vegetables.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon honey
- 4 ounces baby gold beets, thinly shaved
- 1 (4-oz.) fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved
- 4 ounces baby turnips, thinly shaved
- 1 (6-oz.) Granny Smith apple, very thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 4 (6-oz.) tuna steaks
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon torn fennel fronds
- Combine 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Add beets, fennel, turnips, and apple; toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet over high. Sprinkle tuna with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; place in hot pan. Cook 90 seconds on both sides (for rare) or until desired degree of doneness. Remove tuna from pan. Slice thinly, and serve with salad; top with fennel fronds.
Serves 4. Recipe and image courtesy of Cooking Light.
Real Food Monday ~ Elote or as we call it AWESOME Mexican Corn on the Cob May 08 2017, 0 Comments
Elote is Mexican grilled corn on the cob. It is deliciously addictive. The ears are smothered in a creamy mayonnaise sauce flavored with chili pepper and then grilled Hot off the grill you add more of the mayonnaise sauce, role in salty Cotija cheese, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and top it off with a squirt of lime. What you end up with is an Elotes that is smokey, tangy, sweet and slightly spicy....a concoction that is truly amazing.
We serve this with a big green salad and grilled sourdough bread.
- 1/4 cup of sour cream or Mexican Crema
- 1/4 cup of mayo
- 1/2 teaspoon of ancho or chipotle chili powder
- 1 medium garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ears corn
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cojita cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 2 limes wedged up
- Heat grill for at least 5 minutes
- While grill is heating mix together the first six ingredients in a bowl until well blended
- Peel back the corn husks, leaving them attached at the base, and remove the silks
- Brush the kernels with some of the mayonnaise mixture
- Grill the corn on a hot grill until slightly charred, turning it so it gets cooked evenly all over
- Remove from grill and brush the corn with more of the mayo mixture
- Roll corn in Cojita Cheese, sprinkle with cilantro, add a squirt of lime
You can adjust the taste as you like. Want more heat or chili flavor? Add some ground cayenne pepper or chili powder to the mayo. Even sprinkle on top of the corn after cooking if you like.
Ramblings.....frugal living and garlic scapes May 02 2017, 0 Comments
We garden. Always have. Even when we lived in the city, in an apartment I had containers filled with veggies and herbs. The need to garden runs through my blood. I blame it on my upbringing. Raised on 23 acres of land, growing almost all of our own food, even our own feed for chickens and pigs, was just a way of life. So was being frugal. My dad use to say the only thing you wasted on a pig was its squeal. Yea I know gross lol. But pretty much true.
Growing up on our little farm, my family was frugal before frugal was cool. Our water came from a spring, so you did not waste a drop. You ate any and all left overs from any meal during the following days. You mended and repaired instead of buying new. You also used every part, of any plant you grew. We saved seeds. We preserved food with canning, drying and freezing. We used wild herbs for medicine. We lived a frugal life.
I have carried many aspects of my childhood over into my current life. From simple living to gardening to making sure nothing goes to waste. That includes any and all veggies that grown in the garden and trying to use every part of that veggie. A good example is when we grow beets. I don't just use the roots. I love using the green tops for dishes. One thing I know for sure is that if we cant use some part of a veggie we grow, the rabbits we raise sure will. Frugal.
This past week I found myself with an abundance of garlic scapes from the organic, heirloom garlic we grow. We grow lots of heirloom garlic so there is plenty for our Honey Garlic and Cider Elixir. Just like we make the apple cider that goes in...but I digress :) Back to the garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the curly tipped, garlickly tasting green “stem or flower-stalk” that grow from the hardneck garlic varieties. When you harvest your garlic scapes, can determine the use. If you harvest your scapes when they are young and tender, you can chop them into salads or use them as a topping, as you would use scallions. More mature scapes can be sauteed lightly and used over pasta, with eggs, mixed with cooking greens, fermented or pretty much in any dish that would be complemented by garlic. Or you could take the young scapes and make a couple of big ole batches of garlic scape pesto. Which is exactly what I did....using every last one of the garlic scapes. A delicious gourmet food, made from garden extras, at little cost. Now that is frugality at its finest.
Even if you do not grow your own garlic you can find garlic scapes at your local farmers market. If you get a chance grab a bunch and give them a try. Here is my recipe for garlic scape pesto
GARLIC SCAPE PESTO
1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10 to 12 scapes)
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Juice of one lemon
Place the garlic scapes in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds.
Add the sunflower seeds and pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the olive oil and process on high for 15 seconds.
Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until the ingredients are combined.
Add the lemon juice, and process until reaching the desired consistency.
Add salt to taste and serve immediately.
If your are a big fan of garlic this is AMAZING. If you would like less of a garlic taste simply use half garlic scapes and half basil in the recipe.
We love slathering this on grilled sourdough bread, tossed in pasta, mixed with goat cheese as a spread, use as a dip with tortilla chips, mixed with homemade mayo as a dressing in shrimp salad.... I can go on and on. Good thing it freezes well and will last us well into next winter.
BLESSINGS ~ Tamara
Real Food Monday ~ Spring Chowder April 24 2017, 0 CommentsThe last couple of weeks have been super busy here on our little farm. Between spring cleaning, painting, gardening and everyday life, we had a surprise. Our eldest son and his fiance came to NC for their wedding! What a blessing it was for us all. We had two great days of family, laughter, love and joy.....
On Sunday, we arrived home at 12:30 in morning. Rain was pouring down. To be honest I was happy to see the rain falling. Not only did the area need rain, but I needed a relaxing raining day to rejuvenate. When I woke up the rain was still coming down and temps were a little cooler. Looking outside I took a deep breath and focused on how thankful, grateful and blessed I am. The mountains looked magical as I gazed upon them.... it was easy to see why these are called the Smokey Mountains...
I decided a comforting bowl of soup with warm crusty bread would be what I made for dinner. Spring Corn Chowder would be the perfect comfort food for a rainy, spring day. Making up extra means I have some to munch on during the week. Perfect
Spring Corn Chowder combines the spring flavors of corn, cauliflower and sweet peppers with the hardiness of a chowder. Delicious, filling and comforting. Perfect for a recouping day at home.
Spring Corn Chowder.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch diced
3 tablespoons flour
5 cups vegetable broth
2 russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) yellow bell pepper
1 cup of of cauliflower chopped
Salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of fresh basil
1 cup of whole organic milk
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice, for garnish
1/2 cup thinly slivered fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Place the oil and butter in a pot over low heat. Add the diced onion and wilt for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onion; cook, stirring, for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the corn, red bell peppers, cauliflower, salt, pepper, basil and milk, cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle 2 cups of soup into each bowl. Before serving, place 1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes in the center of each and top generously with slivered basil. Serve immediately.
10 Homemade Vitamin Water Recipes January 26 2017, 0 Comments
HOMEMADE VITAMIN FRUIT WATERS ~
We have the commercial "Vitamin Waters" that through smart marketing, gives an illusion of a healthy, hydrating drink. The truth is these are nothing more than sugar water. One of the labels on Glaceau ( the makers of Vitamin Water, Smart Water and Fruit Water)
Tells the story.
Nutrition Facts:Serving Size 8 fl oz; Servings per Container 2.5
Total Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Total Sugar 13g
Vitamin C 60%; vitamin B3 10%; vitamin B6 10%; vitamin B12 10%; vitamin B5 10%, Zinc 10%
vapor distilled/deionized water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, vegetable juice (color), natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), natural flavor, vitamin E acetate, magnesium lactate (elecrolyte), calcium lactate (electrolyte), zinc picolinate, monopotassium phosphate (electrolyte), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), cyanocobalamine (B12)
Each bottle is not one serving but 2.3 servings. That means one bottle of Vitamin Water contain 125 calories and 33 grams of sugar. that is more than a 12 oz can of Coke. Yes they use some vitamins but the vitamins do not override the sugar and calorie content. Drinks with sugar in them dehydrate the body.
There is a healthier choice. Make your own Vitamin Fruit Waters. They are simple and delicious. Here are 10 homemade vitamin water recipes. Make the waters up the night before and let set in the refrigerator over night. Most of these are good for 24 to 48 hours. Just choose one that sounds good and give it a try..
1)Spa Water ~ Cucumber & Herbs - Mix 10 cups of water, 1 cucumber & 1 lemon, thinly sliced add 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped basil leaf & 1/3 of finely chopped fresh mint leaves.
2)Spring Blitz ~ Berry, Lime & Mint - Mix 10 cups of water, 7 strawberries / 0r Raspberries and one thinly sliced lime add 12 finely chopped fresh mint leaves.
3)Good Digestion: ~Fennel & Citrus - Infuse 3/4 teaspoon of dried crushed fennel in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Let set to room temperature. Mix 10 cups of water, the juice of one lemon juice, a small thinly sliced orange, 12 fresh chopped mint leaves and add the infusion of fennel seeds.
4)Antioxidant ~ Blackberry & Sage – Mix 10 cups of water, 1 cup of blackberries that have been slightly crushed and 4 sage leaves.
5) Summer Time ~ Watermelon & Rosemary - Mix 10 cups of water, 1 cup of watermelon cut into cubes add 2 fresh rosemary stems.
6)Tropical Dreams ~ Pineapple & Mint – Mix 10 cups of water, 1 cup of pineapple cut into cubes add 12 finely chopped mint leaves.
7) Apple Delight ~ Apple & Cinnamon – Mix 10 cups of water, 1 cup of apple cut into cubes, whole 2 cinnamon sticks add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
8.)Spicy Ginger ~: Ginger & Green Tea – Make 2 cups of green tea add 1 teaspoon of ginger. Let cool. Mix 10 cups of water with the 2 cups of ginger and green tea, add a 3 inch slice of fresh ginger cut into cube
9) Citrus Sunrise – Citrus Fruit – Mix 10 cups of cold water, 3 Oranges, 2 Lemons, 1 Lime & 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit and 2 Springs of Thyme. ( From a follower !)
10) Immunity ~ Mix 10 cups of cold water Sage, Thyme, Orange & Lemon ~ 3 Oranges, 2 Lemons, 2 sprigs of sage, 2 springs of Thyme.
Water does a body good! I carry a Live Infinitely infusing water bottle with me to ensure I keep hydrating on the go.
Real Food Monday ~ 2 Delicious, Real Food Crock Pot Meals January 23 2017, 0 Comments
Even though I now work from home dinner can be a hectic time. Wednesday is a tough one. My husband and I are coaches for the elementary school’s Lego Robotics Club. We meet after school. By the time we get home on Wednesday it is 5:00. The grandchildren are hungry, I am tired, we still have dinner, homework, baths and for the adult’s, homestead chores. I need something for dinner that I do not have to put a lot of work into but is still real food.
On these busy days I find myself turning to my crock pot. But a lot of the recipes for crock pots included processed foods, like creamed soups or packaged gravy. Over the last couple of years I began searching for healthy crock pot meals, trying them out and keeping the ones we love.
For today’s Real Food Monday here are 2 of my favorite, healthy crock pot meals!
Moroccan Lentil Stew
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
6 cups vegetable broth ( if you want you can use chicken broth)
2 cups water
3 cups chopped cauliflower
1¾ cups lentils
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.
Veggie Lasagna Soup
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces lasagna noodles
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
For the ricotta cheese topping
1 8 ounce container ricotta cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
generous pinch of kosher salt
Add the onion, brown mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the 6 quart slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours or on high and cook for 3½ to 4 hours.
Once the cooking time is done, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and rinse and add to the soup. Cut them into smaller pieces if you'd like. Add the spinach and warm until wilted then ladle into soup bowls and top with a dollop of the ricotta cheese topping.
For the ricotta cheese topping
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*image and recipe for this recipe from Food Crushie*
Make it real with it comes to food...
Journey To Health Week 3 ~ Fast and Easy Real Food Breakfast Ideas January 19 2017, 0 Comments
Eating real food is extremely important on your journey to health. A whole food diet involves maximizing your nutrient intake from natural sources and avoiding nutrient-poor processed foods. Real whole foods can help keep your immune system healthy and reduce overall stress on the body. By eating a whole food diet you are keeping your organs, cells, and lymphatic system clean. You are also helping your system rid itself of unhealthy toxins that have built up through the years.
Changing to a real food diet can be a challenge for some. I suggest taking it one meal at a time. So lets start with breakfast. I am not a big breakfast person. However I have found that by eating a little healthy, "something" , I am not starving around lunch time. Which in turn helps me make better food choices. Here are some of my favorite, quick and easy breakfasts. From Green Drinks, to Smoothies and Vegan & Gluten Free Overnight Oats ( my favorite).
Eating a healthy whole foods breakfast helps set the tone for the rest of your day.
Green Drinks ~ Green Drinks contain important nutrients that nourish and strengthen your immune system. They are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Antioxidants, which are known to prevent cancer and illness by repairing your cellular structure. Most of these important ingredients are lacking in the standard American diet (SAD). Green drinks provide your body with a nutrient called chlorophyll. The "Dr. Oz Show" explains that fat-soluble chlorophyll, which is found in green drinks, supports your red blood cells and hemoglobin along with enabling your blood to carry more oxygen to your blood. Because of the cleansing action of red blood cells, your heart is able to work more effectively and your blood is able to eliminate toxins. You should make Green Drinks part of your daily, real food, eating plan. Here are 3 delicious Green Drink recipes for you try ~
Spinach Mango Green Drink
½ cup of purified water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups chopped spinach or kale
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 cup green grapes
1. Put water in blender add the lime juice, greens, mango, and grapes in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
Tropical Green Drink
1/2 cup coconut water or purified water
2 cups chopped spinach or kale
1 cups chopped pineapple
1 ripe banana chopped
1. Put water in blender add the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water, if needed, to reach the desired consistency.
Grapes of Health Green Drink
Ingredients1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup packed baby spinach
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup coconut water or purified water
1. Put water in blender add the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water, if needed, to reach the desired consistency.
SMOOTHIES ~ Healthy, delicious and filling, these fruit smoothies are a great meal replacement or between meal snack. Here are 3 recipes to get you started. You can get creative and come up with your own smoothie blends.
Summer Time Smoothie
1/2 Cup of rasberries
1/2 Cup of blueberries (frozen)
5 strawberries ( frozen strawberries will help for consistency)
Between one and two cups of Almond Milk
1.Put almond milk in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend till frothy
1/2 Cup pineapple (optional)
One cup of Almond or coconut milk
1.Put almond milk in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend till frothy
Peaches & Cream
1 Cup of frozen peaches
1 Cup Almond or Coconut Milk
1.Put almond milk in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend till frothy
VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE OVERNIGHT OATMEAL ~ Want something more filling than a Green Drink or smoothie to start your day. Try these Vegan & Gluten Free Overnight Oatmeal recipes. Some of my favorite things :)
Vegan & Gluten Free Overnight Oatmeal Standard Recipe
1/2 cup Gluten Free Oats ( try Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup almond milk, and more if needed
1 teaspoon chia seeds ( can be found at most health food stores
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Add any of the following in any combination as much as you want ~ sliced strawberries, blueberries, mango, peach, bananas,
1. Place first 4 ingredients in a Pint size mason jar.
2. Place lid on and shake well. Add fruit.
3. Stir and refridgerate overnight. You can add a touch of raw honey or agave nectar if you wish.
Cranberry Coconut Vegan & Gluten Free Overnight Oats
1/2 cup Gluten Free oats
1 teaspoon chia seeds
3/4 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 table spoon shredded coconut
1 tablespoon raw almonds or walnuts
Mix the first five ingredients in the mason jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours. Top with the nuts and fruit in the morning and enjoy!
Starting your day right, helps your motivation and sets the mood for the day. On your journey to health, start your day off right!
be sure and check out week 1 and week 2 of Journey to Health....
Real Food Monday ~ Real Food for Real Health January 15 2017, 1 Comment
Nutrition has a major impact on our health. The nutrients in our food give our body instructions about how to function. In Perspectives in Nutrition, by Wardlow and Insel ( a popular textbook), it states the following:
"Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop."
A whole-foods diet helps ensure that your entire body gets the required nutrition it needs. That's because whole foods carry out the major functions of a good diet, which includes absorption, assimilation, and elimination, The very things a healthy body needs. However, synthetic, processed, and refined foods can interfere with your body's normal functions. In time, unnatural foods may leave you vulnerable to disease like diabetes, cancer and arthritis to name a few.
In 2011 I was diagnosed with COPD, on oxygen, and told I would never get much better. I was living on 80 to 120 mg of prednisone a day. I had my lungs washed and suctioned out. At one point a crash cart was left outside of my room for 3 days because my heart was giving out due to the burden of trying to help me breathe. Fast forward to today. I am on no medications or oxygen. According to all test I no longer have COPD. What did I do differently? I first begin drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water a day. So If someone weighs 200lbs they would drink 100oz of water a day. I went on a raw food diet for 2 months. I used Nettle infusions to supply my body with lots of vitamins and minerals. I took Nettle Seed to help improve my exhausted adrenals. I took Liver Health to aid in cleansing my body of medications. I meditated. I rested. I healed. Today I eat a variety of foods. I limit dairy and meat to only organic and not often. I enjoy organic grains, vegetables and fruit daily. I still drink lots of water but include water Kefir and fresh juice daily. I literally healed my body from the inside out with food, water and herbs.
Over and over I have seen people dramatically improve their health by eliminating processed foods, choosing real whole foods and including herbals. Eating this way can help keep your immune system healthy and reduce overall stress on the body. By eating a whole food diet you are keeping your organs, cells, and lymphatic system clean. You are also helping your system rid itself of unhealthy toxins that have built up through the years.
So what is "real whole foods"? They are simply food in their natural state. No processing, no GMO's, and unrefined. Fresh vegetables and fruit; whole organic grains. You can include organic, hormone and antibiotic free dairy and eggs, along with free range, grass feed meats if you wish.
Here are some links to some of my favorite real food recipes that I have already shared!
3 Meals, 2 Lunches, 1 Organic Chicken
Sauteed Green Beans with Balsamic Vinegar
Journey To Health ~ Week 2 January 11 2017, 0 Comments
Starting your morning off right helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. One of the best things you can do in the morning is to drink a mug of warm lemon water.
Adopting just this one practice of drinking warm, lemon water first thing in the morning. can positively alter your whole day.
Here are just 5 benefits of warm lemon water :
1. Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium so they help boost your immune system.
2. It aids in digestion. The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis, which helps keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and loosen the toxins, in the digestive tract.
3. Lemon juice is a natural diuretic.
4. Lemons enhance and energize your mood.
5. Lemons help balance the PH levels in the body. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Yes they are acidic outside the body but Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood.
Starting your day right with warm lemon water is easy. First thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else, simply squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lemon into a cup of warm water and drink. That is it. An easy way to make a healthy change.
This is Week 2 of our Journey to Health. If you would like to see more on this please check out the following link
Journey to Health Week 1
Journey To Health ~ 1 healthy change, 1 week at a time ~ WEEK 1 January 03 2017, 1 Comment
To be whole, to be healthy, we need to heal our body, mind and spirit. Many times we seek change in big, bold, overwhelming ways. All at once we decide to change our diet, exercise more, meditate, do yoga, eat organic, go outside more....the list goes on and on. Then when we feel overwhelmed by all the changes. When we miss doing one of the many goals we set for ourselves, a flashing mental sign saying YOU FAILED shows up. Discouragement usually follows....and healthy start falling to the wayside. That healthy change seems like a long forgotten dream.
This year I decided to seek better wellness in a different way. I knew I still needed to address multiple changes, in my body, mind and spirit ~ What if I changed the approach? What if I did one step at a time instead of trying to cross a mile at a time? I could make this a journey, where each step, each change stands on its own. A journey where each step builds on the other. A journey that could lead to true health in all aspects of my life. So starting this week I am making one healthy change to my life. Next week I will add in another change. By years end I could make up to 52 healthy changes! Even if I miss a week or two, I would still be much closer to real, whole health than every before.
Starting today you can join me on a Journey to Health ~ 1 healthy change, 1 week at a time. Lets start the journey now...
WEEK 1 ~ BREATHE
Just breathe....slowly....deeply....Deep breathing is not only relaxing, it's been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes.
Many of us live in a state of high stress. This stress triggers the sympathetic nervous system. It's part of the "fight or flight" response.
The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That's why it's so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stress in your life.
Breathing deeply is a well-known stress reliever and has a multitude of health benefits as well. Most of the time we breathe very shallow. But slow, deep breathing actually stimulates the parasympathetic reaction calming us down. It can lower blood pressure, stimulate the immune system and so much more.
By taking a few breaks a day to breathe deeply, to fill the lungs and bring air deep down into them, we drive more oxygen into the body. Increased oxygen is beneficial for all of our body’s processes, systems and organs.
To get these benefits you need to only breathe deeply for a few minutes a day. I am taking 4 breaks a day to breathe. Each break is only 1 minute long. I do my first breathing session when I wake up. One mid morning. One in the afternoon. One in the evening. Because I work from home I do not have assigned breaks. The first few days I set a reminder to let me know it was time to stop and breathe. If you work outside the home you can do your breathing on during your work breaks. I know I am already seeing the benefits of deep breathing. I am calmer. I have more energy. My afternoon headaches have gone away too! So lets breathe....
Deep Breathing Exercise
Breathe in and count to five while you draw the air in through your nose deep into your lungs. Hold for 3 seconds and release slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds.
As you breathe in picture pure white, healing light entering your body. As you breathe out imagine releasing all your toxins both physically and emotionally.
Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to improve your health dramatically that you can easily do from anywhere, at any time. It costs nothing and takes very little effort.
TIP ~ In the evenings, before my deep breathing, I enjoy a cup of Mind at Peace Tea. After sipping on the tea, I do my deep breathing exercise for a full minute. I take a few more minutes for meditation. This combination helps me to relax prior to bed and go to sleep faster.
ICED TURMERIC TEA August 02 2016, 0 Comments
Over the last few years it seems the world is discovering the benefits of Turmeric. In India Turmeric has always been considered a magical herb. For centuries Ayruveda used it for the treatment of many inflammatory conditions, and with good reason. Recent studies have shown that turmeric contains over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds. In addition, many studies are showing that turmeric may even be better than pharmaceuticals in reducing inflammation. Maybe science is finally catching up with what herbalist have known all along.
We take turmeric daily. In many different forms. This ensures we are getting the amount of anti inflammatory compounds we need. We take Turmeric Tincture daily. I use fresh ground turmeric in my cooking and during the summer months we enjoy a few glasses of Turmeric Iced Tea every day.
Before I give you my Iced Turmeric Tea recipes, I want to begin by saying these recipes are starting points. Turmeric has a strong taste on its own. We add ginger and honey to make a tasty drink. Here are two recipes one using Turmeric powder and one for fresh turmeric root. You can adjust the amount of honey or any of the other ingredients for your own personal taste
ICED TURMERIC TEA USING POWDER
2 cups of water
3 Tablespoons of dried ground turmeric
2 Tablespoons of dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 cup of honey
6 more cups of water
ICED TURMERIC TEA USING FRESH ROOT
2 cups of water
6 inches of fresh turmeric root sliced thin
2 inches of fresh ginger root sliced thin
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 cup of honey
6 more cups of water
DIRECTIONS FOR BOTH POWDER AND FRESH ROOT
1. Add turmeric, ginger and pepper into a saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes with a lid on.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Add honey
4.Cover and let steep one hour to overnight
6. Pour in 6 additional cups of water
7. Cool and adjust taste as needed.
Enjoy a few or more glasses a day. I love to add fresh lemon juice to mine. It makes it taste more like a lemonade..In India they drink large amounts of Iced TurmericTea. So feel free to enjoy.
Reducing Chronic Stress & Inflammation January 04 2016, 0 Comments
Recent studies found that chronic stress changes gene activity of immune cells before they enter the bloodstream so that they're ready to fight infection or trauma ~ even when there is no infection or trauma to fight. This then leads to increased inflammation. Increased inflammation is linked to autoimmune conditions and chronic inflammatory conditions. This includes chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They are also related to anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia, dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, among others. Psychology is literally effecting our biology. Stress can also bring on adrenal fatigue which produces a host of other issues.
My stress was through the roof, my health was going downhill fast, and for a brief time it all felt out of control. I knew things had to change. I had to work on reducing this chronic stress. It was taking over my life. For me I found a few things that are helping. I started with a few small steps and now I am feeling better and stronger than ever.
1. I put stress management in my schedule ~ Just like I schedule everything else I have to remind myself to deal with the stress. I actually schedule in breathing breaks, times for prayers and meditation. Time to stretch, even for just 5 minutes. This helped me develop a habit of addressing the stress and not letting it build up
2. Journal ~ I write down my feelings, my concerns BUT I also focus on GRATITUDE. I have found that by acknowledging my blessings and trying to focus on the good, it helps keep the stress in its place. Yes bad things are happening but in the midst of the storm there is also good.
3. Diet ~ When we are dealing with high stress a healthy diet is not always our focus. But it is really important during this time. I try to keep my kitchen filled with real whole foods. By having lots of fruit, premade salads, nuts and other healthy foods, I am forcing myself to eat right even when it is not a top priority. Eating real, whole foods helps reduce the physical stress on your body.
4.Mind at Peace Tea and Mind at Peace Tincture - I drink a cup of tea with breakfast EVERY DAY and I carry the tincture with me. Panic attack or high stress just a dropper takes the edge off
5. SLEEP - You must have a good nights sleep. Exhaustion just makes stress worse. For me I drink a cup of Mind at Peace tea with Sweet Sleep extract. I can sleep well. You can use the Rest & Relax Kit
6. Reduce inflammation - I drink Nettle infusions to help reduce inflammation and provide me with the vitamins, minerals and calcium I need. If is miss my nettles for more than a couple of days I can tell the difference.
7. Take Nettle Seed Extract - Nettle Seed stimulates and revives body functions;heightens energy levels; and reduces stress. It is especially effective for those suffering from severe burnout, resulting in profound fatigue, brain fog and chronic pain. Nettle is a highly restorative herb for exhausted adrenals and for the kidneys.
8. Love yourself ~ Take time to do something you enjoy EVERY, SINGLE, DAY. Sometimes all I can do is turn on some music I like, other days it may be slipping in some time to read or taking a relaxing bath at the end of the day. Maybe it is putting fresh flowers on the table or walking outside. Just make sure to do at least one little thing just for you ~ every single day. It helps lift your spirits and decrease the stress.
Our body is not running inefficiently when it is under chronic stress. This results in energy being diverted towards immediate survival while compromising long-term health. If you are dealing with daily, chronic stress, I encourage you to take the time needed to care for and nurture yourself. Your health and the quality of your life depends on it ~ Blessings.
7 Steps to Building a Strong Immune System August 05 2014, 0 Comments
From short term viruses and infections to chronic illness our health has a dramatic effect on our daily life. A healthy immune system is the key to avoiding illness and disease. And guess what, with just a little effort on your part you can help your body build the healthy immune system it needs!
Our immune system is a complex network of structure and function. It is made up of our lymph system, spleen, bone marrow, thymus gland and digestive tract. When working properly it can be an extremely efficient barrier between you and invaders like disease, pathogens and overgrowth of cells.
As wonderful as our immune system is, it is important to realize a healthy immune systems doesn't just happen. Todays world is filled with ever changing viruses and bacteria. We are surrounded by toxins and pollution. Then there is stress, fast paced living and unhealthy eating habits. All of these weaken our immune system and can leave us vunerable to disease and illness.. The good news is you can help create an environment that strengthens and builds your immune system naturally.
1. You are what you eat ~ A healthy body begins with what we put into it. A diet high in vegetables, fruits and nuts is rich in nutrients your immune system needs. Proper amounts of protein (plant or animal) are also important. Antioxidants are very important. They protect the body from free radicals The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and chard all support the liver’s ability and immune function by boosting the liver’s capability to flush out toxins.
There are also things you need to avoid. Sugar and processed foods actually hinder the immune system. Sugar also increases the inflammatory markers in your blood. Real food is key to helping build up you immune system. Check out my blog on the Simple Steps to eating real food
2. Sleep ~ Your body needs adequate sleep. Sleep is an important part of daily function that helps the brain and other parts of the body to rest and regenerate. One of the results of a body that is not performing optimally is a depressed immune system, because a lack of sleep impairs your body's ability produce immune cells. Most experts agree that 7 to 8 hours a day is what most people need.
3. Manage Stress ~ Stress is one of the biggest drains on our body's and our immune system. Studies show that chronic stress actually ages the immune system. But there are steps you can take to reduce stress. Something as simple as a few minutes a day of deep breathing can reduce stress levels. Try simple stretching and breathing exercises, yoga and meditation to aid in stress reduction
4. Drink plenty of water ~ Our bodies need water to be healthy. Water helps oxygenates your blood ensuring your body systems get the oxygen they need to function properly. Water helps your kidney and liver flush toxins from the body . Another very important role of water in the body is that water helps in the production of lymph.
Your body's immune system uses lymph to circulate white blood cells and nutrients to all of the body's tissues. Lymph fulfills the following functions in your body:
- It carries water and nutrients to the blood, and through the blood, to the cells of the body.
- It carries white blood cells and other immune system cells from the thymus and the bone marrow, throughout the body.
- It removes toxins from the blood.
Your body needs water in order to produce lymph. Without lymph, your white blood cells and other immune cells would not be able to travel throughout the body to fight disease.
On average it is recommended you drink half your body weight a day in water. So if you weigh 140lbs you should drink 70 ounces a day of water.
5. Choose supplements wisely ~ Studies link deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E to reduced immune function. Through a healthy diet most of us should be getting the supplements our bodies need to be healthy. There are times when because of illness or other situations supplements may be needed. During those times I use Natural Vitality liquid vitamins. Liquid vitamins are more easily absorbed into our body, making them more readily available to for our body to use.
6. Probiotics ~ More and more scientific studies are showing the link between good bacteria in the gut and a healthy immune system. The best way to build good gut bacteria is through eating high quality fermented foods like Kefir, yogurt and kraut. We also use a high quality therapeutic-grade probiotics to help support and boost gut health.
7. Herbal Supplements ~ Most of our nutritional support comes in the form of herbal infusions and elixirs. On a daily basis we take Nettle and Oatstaw Infusions. Herbal infusions provide protein, minerals, phytoestrogens, and special fats our body's need. Drinking infusions, allows you to naturally increase the amount nutrients in your diet without consuming extra calories or adding supplements. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions. You can find these under our bulk herbs section as well as instructions for making infusions.
Our HONEY, GARLIC & CIDER ELIXIR is another daily herbal we consume. Made with raw organic honey, organic garlic, turmeric and unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar, this elixir contains four of the best well known immunity boosters and is a power house of health! We use this daily to help support our immune system. Our unique combination contains herbs and ingredients that are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. This is a wonderful all around health elixir and can be found under our herbal extracts. Other herbs that top my list are Astragalus, Echinacea and organic green tea
Remember the best way to avoid illness is with a healthy immune system. The time to start is now!
10 Simple Steps to Eating Whole Food August 01 2014, 0 Comments
It is easy for someone to say "you need to eat real food", or "get rid of all the junk food". But if you are use to using a lot of packaged food or if your on a restricted budget it can all be a bit overwhelming. Where do you start? What about all the stuff already in your kitchen? Can you use any packaged foods? These are just a few of the questions and stumbling blocks to moving towards a diet rich with real whole foods. Its ok, take a breath and know there are some simple steps you can use, to ease your transition to a real food diet. Just do it one step at a time!
Simple Steps to Real Food
1. Know what real food is ~ Real food is fresh fruits, fresh vegetables; real whole milk, butter, yogurt; real grains; meats like chicken, pork loins, lamp chops and hearty soups made with bone broths. It is what your ancestors would recognize as food. It is not packaged cereals, lunch meats, pre packaged meals or frozen pizza. You can take any real food and adjust as needed to your preferred diet. Raw food, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and Paleo all use real food.
2. Know what your are already eating ~ Take a week and write down what you serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. How much of that comes from processed foods, pre packaged foods? How much is what you would consider real food.
3. Start small ~ I don't expect you to throw out everything in your kitchen and start over. Who can afford that !?! But you can decided to make small changes at a time.
4. Use the 1/3 Approach ~ For 2 weeks commit to 1/3 of your meals being real food. This can be any combination of breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks. After 2 weeks go for 2/3 of your meals being real food. Do this for another 2 weeks and then see if you can go for 100% real food.
This approach gives you and your budget time to adjust to real food eating.
5. I love real, whole foods that are simple. Breakfast can be organic oatmeal, eggs, overnight oats, yogurt with berries, whole grain bread with peanut butter & bananas or smoothies and green drinks. Lunch can be sandwiches from leftover meats, cheese or real veggies, salads ( grain and veggie), soups or any leftovers. Dinner is not difficult. In the time it takes me to heat up the oven and bake a frozen pizza I can have a meal ready to go. Grilled or seared meats, crockpot dinners, curries, roasted veggies, or go the extra step and make your own freezer meals!. I always have about a couple of weeks worth in the freezer. They really help on those busy nights. Friday nights are pizza night and we use to get the kids ( and now the grandkids) involved in making there own. We use whole grain flat breads,
6. Not all packaged food is bad ( YES, I said that!) ~ Yes most of it is bad, but the reality is I cant make everything, on my own, all the time. So here is a list of some premade staples you can include in your pantry.
- (BPA-free) Canned wild-caught salmon & tuna
- (BPA-free) Canned organic tomato sauce & tomato paste
- Jarred organic pasta sauce, artichoke hearts, & sundried tomatoes
- Whole grain pasta (or even better, sprouted whole-grain pasta)
- Organic jam, pie fillings, pumpkin puree, etc.
- Organic coconut milk (a great replacement for sweetened condensed milk)
- Foods for Asian dishes like canned water chestnuts, buckwheat soba noodles, miso, etc.
- Organic condiments like mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc
7. What about organic? ~ I will always say to buy as much organic as you can. Meats and dairy are very important to try and purchase organic. The truth is that organic can be costly. I will say this it is, if all you can do is buy real food but you cant afford organic, DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU, from eating real food. Non organic real food is still better for you than packaged processed foods.
8. Add in nutrients ~ Today we need to fill a gap in our modern, over processed diets. Even when eating healthy whole food diets, we see fewer nutrients in our foods due to nutrient depletion in our soils. Nourishing herbal infusions blends are powerhouses of protein, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
9. Frozen meals ~ Ok let's be honest. There are times when I do not have the energy or time to cook a meal, and my pre made freezer meals are down to nothing. I need a health, fast meal. This only happens a few times a month but I keep some healthy, store bought freezer meals on hand for just such an occasion. You can buy organic freezer meals, from the grocer, with no artificial ingredients, no additives and low in sodium. If you really need to purchase a frozen meal a week buy organic and read the labels!!
10. Celebrate when you make the right choices and don't beat yourself if your not perfect. Guess what none of us are. Just know that the more you choose real food over processed foods, the better it is for you and your family's health.
~ Green Blessings