guest post, health

Eating for your Skin

Ward Off Skin-Related Issues and Illnesses By Eating

Yes, it’s true! You can protect yourself from skin-related issues and diseases by eating, the healthy stuff of course. On your next trip to your local natural foods market or even the supermarket around the corner be sure to fill your cart with these highly beneficial items. They’re not only good for whole body wellness and health but also for your body’s protector, your skin.

tomatoe

  • Tomatoes. Besides being delicious and adding flavor to almost any meal, tomatoes protect your skin against harmful sun rays. While you still want to slather on that sunscreen, tomatoes have the ability to increase your skin’s natural defenses against UV rays. Plus, the skin benefits only further increase when you cook with tomatoes, like in tomato paste, or combine the vegetable with olive oil. Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olive oil, anyone?

whole grains

  • Whole grains. Eating whole grains allows the presence of acne and/or oily skin to disappear. Put that piece of white bread down, as refined carbs cause acne by making insulin levels increase, and thus, affecting the skin. So, make the switch to whole grain pasta, bread and cereal today.

citrus

  • Citrus. As you’re probably well aware, citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C. However, you might not know that Vitamin C works to fight wrinkles. This particular vitamin slows down the wrinkling process, but it must be consumed from food sources to reap this all too important benefit, rather than supplements. Besides oranges, munch on tangerines and grapefruit.

flax

Flax seeds. It’s winter and you’re suffering from dry, itchy skin – what could be worse? Besides slathering your body with lotion to rid yourself of dry skin, you can choose to eat foods that are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, like flax seeds and salmon. Another bonus? Omega-3 fatty acids fight against skin inflammation.

green tea

  • Green tea. Soothing in the winter and refreshing in the summer, green tea just hits the spot. And yes, the rumors are true; green tea protects your body from skin cancer. The antioxidants found in green tea work to kill tumor skin cells and all the while help to heal acne and relieve skin itching and swelling. Whichever way you choose to enjoy green tea, you can rest assure that it’s wholly beneficial.

So, choose to enjoy foods that not only taste good but nourish your skin and body. The above foods help protect against uncomfortable skin ailments and more serious issues, such as cancer. So, on your next trip to pick up food make sure these essential items are found in abundance within your cart.

Laurie Mitchell is a skincare professional who writes about Hydrolyze, a prominent brand on today’s market. With an eye for the most effective products in the skincare industry, Laurie has earned a reputation as the go-to resource for information about the market for many consumers. More information can be found at www.Hydrolyzeskinreview.com.

guest post, health, product review

Guest Post – Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple-Cider-Vinegar

This old cure-all folk remedy reclaimed its old fame in the late 1950s, when D. C. Jarvis promoted its purported healing properties in best-seller Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health. The medical community has been abuzz ever since, and often with contending viewpoints.

First, let’s begin with the facts: apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a product of pulverized apples’ fermentation—the process of bacteria and yeast breaking down sugars. From here, the claims of ACV run wild: everything from curing warts and head lice to cancer.

apple-cider-vinegar-green-background

Although it is true that vinegar is a disinfectant, and coupled with baking soda or lemon juice and water can serve as a handy all-purpose cleaner, it may not be the cure-all that many home-remedy and holistic medicine fans are hoping for. For example, vinegar-based cleaners, while effective, are no match for bleach-based cleaners, and plain old hot water seems to work better than vinegar with jelly fish stings. Many would take the trade-off, anyway, to avoid the health and ecological damage of bleach, but the fact remains that the benefits of ACV remain contested.

apples-three-red-white-background

The traditional medical community has, however, admitted to the following medical benefits of ACV.

· Diabetes. ACV helped lower glucose levels in many studies. In a 2007 study, 11 people with type 2 diabetes took 2 tablespoons of ACV before bed and found their glucose levels lowered by 4-6% by morning.

· High cholesterol. A 2006 study done on rats showed that ACV lowered cholesterol, but effects on humans remain contested.

· Blood pressure and heart health. ACV was found to lower high blood pressure in another study on rats, and those on traditional Mediterranean diet (oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week) have lower rates of heart disease than those not on said diet. That vinegar was the cure-all remains unsure.

· Cancer. Some studies show that vinegar can kill cancer cells or at least slow their growth, but studies are inconclusive.

· Weight loss. Vinegar has been a staple of those seeking weight loss for millennia. White vinegar helps people feel fuller longer.

flytrap-vinegar1

Still, the traditional medical community appears ready to admit to nothing quite yet. All tests are in preliminary stages and were usually conducted on animals rather than people. Those studying holistic or more non-traditional medicine purport the following benefits of ACV (and much more).

· Bad breath. Involves a tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water and gargling.

· Acne. ACV, diluted with water or tea, is used as a toner and disinfectant.

· Yeast infection. Soak in a bath with several cups of ACV.

· Constipation and diarrhea. ACV allegedly has a high pectin concentration that protects the irritated lining of the colon. Drink a glass of water with 2 tablespoons of ACV 3 times daily while symptoms persist.

Even non-traditionalists admit to some unfortunate side-effects of ingesting ACV, however. Dental enamel can deteriorate with excessive use of pure ACV (i.e. not diluting it with water or otherwise) since ACV is highly acidic. Long-term use can also lower potassium levels and bone density, a real problem for those with osteoporosis or those who are prone to it.

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No matter the use, individuals with serious diseases like diabetes must consult their physicians before using ACV or any home remedy, as ACV may counteract prescribed medicines or do more harm than good in rare cases. After all, ACV is not a cure-all. It does, however, warrant more attention from the medical community as well as everyday health-conscious individuals.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where recently she’s been researching different social work degrees and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

ztashaz_thumb[1]_thumb[1]

awareness, clean eating, guest post, health

Guest Post – Dioxin Facts

Is Dioxin Hiding in Your Family’s Diet?

Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical which you and your family are likely exposed to every day without you even knowing it. Children, in particular, are susceptible to the risks of dioxin due to their smaller size and need for protein and fats to facilitate their growth. What are some sources of contamination and what can we do to protect out children from this threat?

Where it is found.

1) Meat.

meat

The number one food category for the human consumption of dioxin is meats. This makes sense due to the fact that it is easily absorbed by fatty tissue. It is estimated that 42% (as of 2001) of the dioxins in our diets come from meats, whether beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. Where possible, cut meat out of your diet in order to avoid this exposure. Other tips are to purchase leaner cuts of meat and trim as much fat as possible before cooking. Also, naturally leaner meats such as poultry will contain less dioxin than fattier meats like beef. Finally, avoid fast food restaurants who add fat to their meats in order to improve the flavor.

2) Dairy.

cheeseandmilk

Butter, mild, and cheese are other high sources of dioxin in our diets, accounting for an estimated 17% (as of 2001). Choosing lower fat milk, butter, and cheese will help in this regard, as well. Also, using margarine made with vegetable oil rather than dairy will help as well.

3) Fruits and Vegetables.

organic-produce

Believe it or not, fruits and vegetables can contribute to our dioxin intake as well. This is because dioxin is an ingredient in various herbicides (IDPH) as well as pesticides. Choosing organic and locally grown produce will help to make sure you are getting pesticide-free fruits and vegetables and help to keep your family safe.

4) Other food sources.

Oily-fish-with-omega-3-006

These include things such as fish, eggs, and fats and oils. In all these sources contribute little to our total dioxin exposure, but they are potential sources and the best way to mitigate the potential harm from them is to monitor consumption.

Dioxin and infants.

infant

It is estimated that a nursing infant ingests up to 77 times the daily level proposed by the EPA to be safe. This affects both infants who are breast-fed as well as those who are given formula, so it is especially urgent for the sake of our children that something be done to curb the production of dioxin and for the EPA to finish assessments it has begun into the long-term impact of dioxin to our health and to the health of our children. For mothers who are nursing, following some of the above guidelines to decrease your own dioxin exposure will help to lessen the threat to our precious children.

Much has been done over the past 30 years to protect our families from this threat — from research to rules and legislation — but much work still needs to be done to fully understand the threat of dioxin to our health and to reduce its impact on our food supply. Being knowledgeable is the first step to making good choices which will protect our families from this toxic threat.

To learn more about Dioxin and Food Contamination, you may want to check out:

The Environmental Working Group

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

Environmental Justice Activists This site is maintained by Action PA which is a grassroots organization for environmental justice.

Isabella York became interested in all aspects of a healthy lifestyle including efforts to reduce exposure to environmental toxins through a desire to be the best mother for her son. She is working to spread the information to others who may be unaware about the potential harm in the everyday foods they are consuming. She is a full time mother and also works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of artificial Christmas trees.

awareness, clean eating, health

“Do you get bored?”

I recently was asked a question about the way I eat. An anonymous poster asked “Do you ever get bored with eating so healthy?”
 
What a great question! 
It sparked something in me and I wanted to share my thoughts will all that read my blog as I think it is a very important subject to delve into. 

The answer is: No.
 
I have never felt more enthusiastic about eating and food in general than right now in my life! I actually cannot wait for my next meal or snack as I know it will not only be good for my body but it will also taste AMAZING
And on top of everything else, I FEEL AND LOOK AMAZING! I have energy, bloating is gone, my digestion and intestinal track function normally, NO headaches, NO stomach issues, I think clearer, my skin glows… I am a completely new person, inside and out. I am also the lightest I have ever been but I also eat the most. I can see you scratching your head, but it makes perfect sense.
 
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On a personal note: I have had a love – hate relationship with food for years. I never quite understood the meaning of healthy nor did I understand what foods could do for my body and soul. I was one of those of girls who bought everything low fat, fat free and sugar free. But I was so upset that I was not losing any weight. I restricted calories and fat, but still I saw no results. 
I cringed at the thought of going out to restaurants, eating around people or going to any event that had food. Everyday I would obsessively think about food and how negative I looked at it. 
So I popped diet pills, played around with starvation diets, even tried to succeed at eating disorders – yes, I tried but failed because deep down I knew it wasn’t right. At the time I felt that I had the power over food and my situation, and it was amazing! “Look at you stuffing your face, while I am here not touching anything on my plate. I have power and YOU DON’T!” Until I became light headed, had ZERO energy and when I did eat I was so famished I would binge. Binging leaded to guilt, fast fixes and an very unhealthy life.
I felt deprived and so bitter towards “thin” people who would be eating greasy food and still have their figure. I thought if I was “thin” I would finally be “happy”. It was a very low time of my life and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
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So why did I just share all of that? Because I have learned to embrace and welcome food into my life; but it has been a long road! I have never been so pleased and happy to sit down to a huge bowl or plate of food. I eat when I feel like it and ALL of those negative thoughts are COMPLETELY gone!
When I eat wholesome food from the Earth, I help give my body the proper fuel it deserves. I never take my body for granted any longer. My legs make me run, my heart makes me live, my brain makes me think, my eyes make me see, my arms make me hug and my hands make me feel. 
I want you to understand that I have made a lifestyle change to best suit my life, goals and desires. I love eating fresh, wholesome foods. Nothing beats a juicy piece of fruit on a hot summer day, or a warm mug of fresh made soup on a chilly afternoon. 
I am passionate about nature and what it provides for us. Taking a seed, giving it some love and watching it grow is such a spiritual experience. Then that same plant gives back, producing a variety of healing foods for you to enjoy. What a blissful relationship between man and plant.
 
I have eliminated processed foods from my diet completely, as they do not fit in the kind of lifestyle I want to live. They don’t even taste good to me; too salty, fake ingredients, added preservatives and ingredients that I simply cannot pronounce nor do I know anything about them. 
I am not on a diet. I don’t believe in diets and this word should be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary. My motto is Eat to Live – Not Live To Eat. This has been a very long process and did not happen over night. I can fully understand where the anonymous poster is coming from – to the average person who eats an “average Western diet” may look at my daily plates of food and think, “Vegetables, weird grains, fruit… where is the fun in that?”. But to me it is fun and I have never eaten so many foods that have excited my taste buds and senses. 
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For those that might be reading my blog for the first time, I live a 99% vegan life. I do not deprive myself of food, cravings, or even “fun” food. If you look in my freezer you will see a few cartons of coconut ice cream (which I will have to say is AMAZING!), I have a few bars of dark chocolate in the pantry along with potato chips and candy. Do I eat these on a daily basis? No.
I have found a healthy balance between living and food. I consciously splurge. I know that it might not be the best choice but Hey – I am grown woman who can make decisions. And I never feel guilty. 
Making a life style change may seem like a daunting experience. It’s about determining your goals, what you think you can do and the hardest part: ACTUALLY DOING IT! Here is a list that I feel would help anyone create a healthier lifestyle that can be achieve by anyone. 
  • Start small. Take one meal a day and try something new. Change your daily Egg McMuffin to a bowl of creamy oatmeal with peanut butter, pure maple syrup and dried fruit 4 times a week. You should be able to feel a difference in your body as you may not be bloated or puffy from all of the sodium, among other things that are in that breakfast sandwich.
  • Explore options for food purchases. Visit your local farmers market’s to get the best tasting and freshest produce around. You will be amazed by the way food is actually supposed to taste! You can also visit your local health food store or larger health food market. Just spend a few hours looking at all of the different products; you don’t even need to buy anything! Write down some products that you might like to try then go home and do some research.
  • Get cooking! A lot of the times people just don’t know what to cook and it’s hard for them to think outside the “Hamburger Helper” box. Buy a recipe book that is full of tantalizing pictures of wholesome food and get busy! Make it a family event where your husband and/or kids can help. Go to the store, buy all of the ingredients then make a tasty meal. Think your kids are picky? Getting them involved in making meals is a sure fire way to have them eat!
  • Make it look eye appealing! I don’t care how tasty a food is – if it doesn’t look good chances are you probably wont eat it. Purchase a few “fancy” plates and bowl and turn a simple salad into an elegant meal!
  • Look for support and know you are not alone. I think this is why “diets” fail – people feel that they are all alone. Just in the 8 months that I have been a food blogger I am simply amazed by how many other strong, healthy individuals eat a wholesome diet. I honestly believe this has helped me be more conscious about my food decisions and life style change. It has opened my eyes to new foods and cooking methods, and I never feel alone!
  • Splurge without guilt. Yes, have chocolate, have fries, have a big ol’ burger – but throw that side of guilt away! I used to have a huge amount of guilt for eating anything “bad” for me. This was way before I cleaned up my eating, though. I NEVER feel guilty any longer, but it has taken a long time for me to get to this point. Guilt adds pressure, stress and un-happiness to your life. The one concept I love about this life style change is that I don’t miss the way I used to eat so I don’t crave greasy food any longer and have no desire to eat out on a regular basis. I love my kitchen and cooking wholesome meals for me and my family. BUT when I do go out I enjoy every bite!
I hope this post has helped you see that I am very passionate about the way I eat and live. It’s not about being vegan or vegetarian, it’s about living a conscious life. Food helps your body grown, heal and live.
 
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
Here are some of my favorite resources that have helped me along my journey to optimal health:
Michael Pollan he has written The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Food Rules. ALL worth reading!
Food Inc – A documentary showcasing where are food comes from and exposing the truth about our beloved “farms”.
Animal, Vegtable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – their family decided to up and move to a farm and eat from the local land.
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone – her journey from an unhealthy eater to a glowing vegan. She explains eating healthy as sexy, as it should be! She also has a great website, The Kind Life, that she posts regular articles, recipes and healthy living ideas.
And I wouldn’t be here without ALL of the wonderful blogs I read on a daily basis! I am constantly learning from each one of you and I treasure each one of you! Check out my ever-growing blog roll on the right of my blog for inspiration!
Eating Animals – A sad, yet true picture of the impact eating meat causes. This is why I decided to live a vegan life. 
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I am going to close with a few more thoughts that I want you take away form this post.
No – I don’t get bored eating the way I do. I embrace it and LOVE it. I love it because it not only tastes amazing but it makes me feel amazing.
But please remember that it has taken me years to get to this point. And it goes beyond cutting some vegetables for a salad; I understand the amount of work, time, love and care that goes into each vegetable, fruit or grain I eat. Food should be a celebration of life!
ztashaz
bee pollen, health

Bee Pollen

I had asked on my Facebook page what are some foods that you would like to learn more about. One of you suggested Bee Pollen. I admit I have not read up on bee pollen at all; and it was something that I wanted to learn more about! I thought this would be a good post  – I really learned a lot and I hope you do too!

NOTE – Bee Pollen is not suitable for a strict vegan lifestyle. While this blog is a good resource for vegan recipes, I treat it like a nutrition blog and will post information that is not vegan or vegetarian. I have a wide range of readers and I feel it is my job to share information that is suitable for ALL of my readers. 
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bee pollen
n. mixture of flower pollen, honeybee digestive juices, and nectar. Has been used therapeutically for asthma, allergic conditions, im-potence, bleeding stomach ulcers, altitude sickness, as a dietary supple-ment has been used for cancer, high cholesterol, and cardiac conditions. Should not be used if allergic to pollen or by diabetic patients who are using insulin or hypoglycemic medications.
Jonas: Mosby’s Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (c) 2005, Elsevier.

Bee pollen is known to be a Superfood; although most of us do not take any amount of bee pollen supplement. People have been using bee pollen for thousands of years and it was the early Egyptians and Chinese civilizations that first discovered the rewards from ingesting bee pollen.
Bee pollen has been shown to help people:

  • lose weight
  • increase energy, vitality and stamina
  • enhance the immune system
  • relieve allergy and asthma symptoms
  • improve sexual function
  • correct digestion problems
  • slow the aging process
  • prevent cancer and other diseases

But in most cases and studies, individuals that take bee pollen notice an increase of energy and physical endurance. Athletes have taken bee pollen for many years to naturally achieve their physical goals.
So, what is it?
 
It’s the dust-sized seed found on the stamen of all flower blossoms. The pollen collects on the legs of honeybees as they move from flower to flower looking for nectar. The bees secrete nectar and special enzymes into the flower pollen to create what we know as “bee pollen”. The pollen is usually collected by placing a special device at the entrance of beehives that brushes it from the hind legs of the bees into a collection vessel.
What’s in it?
Bee pollen contains an incredible array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, co-enzymes, and hormones. It is especially rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, including lycopene, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and several flavanoids. It is composed of 55% carbohydrates, 35% protein, 3% vitamins and minerals, 2% fatty acids, and 5% other substances. Overall, it’s one of the most nutritionally complete natural substances found on earth.

What will it do for me?
When you first start taking bee pollen you may feel a significant increase in your energy right away, definitely within a week or so. Over time the consistent use of pollen will improve your energy, stamina, and endurance. You’ll also probably notice a greater feeling of general well-being. Over the long-term, regular consumption of bee pollen will help alleviate many different health problems, slow down the aging process, and improve your quality of life.
How do I take Bee Pollen?
Bee pollen is available in powdered forms, granules, tablets and capsules. Capsules usually contain other bee hive products such as royal jelly, propolis and honey. Pollens that come from multiple sources contain more nutrients than single source pollens. Because of the negative effects of air pollution the highest-quality bee pollens comes from extremely clean natural environments.
Article Source
I was looking around online and noticed that it is available in capsules and powder/granules. I read that it has a sweet and nutty flavor, but it depends on what kind of plants the pollen was collected from. You can put the pollen granules on salads and in shakes or simply take it in pill form.
I would love to hear from my readers who have taken Bee Pollen – how did it make you feel? Are you continuing to use it?
And before taking any supplements, especially Bee Pollen, please read the allergy warnings – especially those that are allergic to bee stings!
ztashaz

health, n, nutrition, organic

Organic foods – An investment to your health!

Kyle Simpson recently contacted me to write a post on Organic foods for The Clean Eating Mama’s readers. I am a big supporter of Organic foods and how important they are to us and the environment. Thanks again, Kyle!
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The Benefits of Eating Organic and Ways to find it on a Budget
Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Coding Certification where you can find more information about a career and training in the medical field. 
Have you joined the bandwagon of eating organic? Studies touting the health and environmental benefits of organic foods have made them more popular than ever. More than 70% of consumers have at least one organic product on their shopping lists, according to one market research firm.
There are lots of reasons for buying organic foods: foods haven’t been doused in pesticides, organic food has higher nutrient levels and better flavor, and you don’t have to worry about additives like hydrogenated fats, artificial colors or preservatives. In addition, when you buy organic meat you know it’s free from any growth hormones and grown in a natural environment.
Organic foods not only benefit your health, but also the environment. By buying organic, you won’t be consuming food grown using harmful chemicals which pollute the environment.
So you’re sold on organic food, but the next question is can you afford it? Organic produce, meat and dairy products can cost 50% to 100% more than conventional counterparts.  Organic foods may be healthier for you, but they can have a sickening effect on your budget.
However, do not lose hope. There are ways to shop organic for less. Here are a few tips:
  • Prioritize the items you feel would benefit you and your family the most. The conventional counterparts to some foods are laden with pesticides and harmful hormones, foods such as apples, lettuce, tomatoes, berries, beef and poultry, and spinach. On the other hand, produce such as bananas, papayas, pineapples, and broccoli require fewer pesticides to grow. The peels on bananas and other tropical fruits further reduce your exposure. If you can afford them, buy all your produce organic, but it you can’t, try not to buy the fruits and vegetables most susceptible to pesticide residue.
  • Read labels. Seafood, cosmetics and cleaning products can be labeled “organic” without the same requirement as the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposes on vegetables and meat. You’ll pay premium prices with no guarantees.
  • Keep an eye out for sales. Yep, organic products go on sale the same as other products. Watch for coupons or discounts advertised in circulars. Be flexible and stock up when something goes on sale. Also, buy fruits and veggies that are in season.
  • Your local farmer’s market can be a great place to buy organic food. Competition helps keep down prices. Also try community-supported agriculture programs.
  • Shop generics. Many supermarkets are adding organic lines to their private labels which allows you to save money over big-name brands.
  • Try growing your own vegetables and fruit in your own backyard or join a community garden.
Can you afford to eat organic? It’s a personal choice, but you might be surprised how much the average family spends on junk food, carry-out food, alcohol and tobacco. Organic food can be seen as an investment to your health and well being.
child obesity, family, health

Treats for good behavior – are you doing more harm than good?


What is wrong with this picture?

I was watching an episode of Supper Nanny (props to Jo Jo!) and I saw a family giving junk food as rewards. Pringles, cookies, candy… while washing it down with sugar loaded drinks. While this may seem to be the best way to reward good behavior, what are you really teaching in the long run?
That every time they do something good they can have free sugar or junk food? That goes hand in hand with the trend in today’s society. Get a promotion at work – go out to dinner. Good grades – ice cream after school. See the trend and relation? And with excessive TV watching, video game playing and computer surfing, families just are not as active as they could and used to be.
Look, I am not one to say rewards are not in order for achieving goals but I really believe that the type of “reward” should be changed. We as parents and adults need to put the lives of those that rely on us first more often, and to really think before doing.

The child obesity rate is soaring higher and higher as every year passes. Are you, as the parent, contributing to this? Want to change this? Lead by example – eat foods that are healthy and nutritious but keep them fun for the kids. Kids want to do everything that their parents do; you are their role models!

A snack here or there is not making the obesity rate rise. It’s the constant eating of fast food, white bread, sugar, soda, fried potato chips, and endless hours in front of the TV or computer that is causing this drastic rise. If the snacks not in the house kids will not be as likely to be picky about the foods that ARE, or SHOULD BE, in the house.

And do not give in to their cleverly timed tantrums. They know you will eventually break down and give in to quiet them down and for them to be “happy”. Kids will not starve and will eventually eat what they are given to them. You are not being mean or hurtful, you are teaching them that proper nutrition and good health is vital.

Parents: do your part in making your child healthy and give them the tools for them to grow into active and normal weight adults. You have the power to make the child obesity rate lower.

health, weight loss

Lighten up and be food smart for 2010

Now that summer is upon us, “diets” and “weight loss” are the number one Googled item – no surprise.Instead of going on a strict diet, try eating cleaner and smarter.
This is why “diets” do not work. It is all about lifestyle changes – changes for life! I wanted to share some of my go-to ways to think healthy and eat healthy, and to cut out unwanted calories and change unhealthy techniques. These techniques are for everyone – meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. 
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1. Eat your protein during breakfast. Eggs, Greek style yogurt, tofu or beans will help your energy level and reduce your cravings during the day.
2. Changing the way you cook. Instead of sautéing or frying, try poaching, steaming or roasting.
3. Substitutions are a great alternative to cooking. Use plain Greek style yogurt instead of sour cream, mustard or hummus instead of mayo, and lean ham or turkey bacon instead of pork bacon.
4. Think before you drink; you can easily drink more calories than you know. Drink seltzer water with citrus (orange, lemon, lime), use non-fat milk in your coffee and lattes, STOP the soda, and if you must drink juice, make it be 100% juice with no added sugar.
5. Check your portion size!  Eat on smaller plates to help cut down on over plating and portion out your plate with this ratio: 1/4 meat/protein 1/4 carb 1/2 vegetable. Also visualize your helpings: protein should be a deck of cards, starch should be a tennis ball and eat as much veggies/fruit as you like.
6. Measure your olive oil instead of “winging it”. You don’t need as much as you may think.
7. Reduce over all meat consumption by subbing with beans or tofu. Although you can buy lean meat, subbing 1-2 nights a week can help get more variety in your everyday diet.
8. Think ordering a salad is a “safe” choice? Salads can easily be just as unhealthy as a burger with fries! Order salads with dressing on the side, cut down on croutons and cheese. Use baby spinach instead of lettuce and add raw nuts for texture and healthy fat.
9. Add fat free flavor. Using a lot of herbs when cooking cuts down on the use of oils and sauces. Experiment by using basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, red pepper flakes or anything that catches your eye.
10. Fill up on fiber. Eat plenty of beans, legumes and whole grains throughout the day to maintain your energy levels and helps keep you full longer.
11. Snack a better snack. Avoid cookies and chips and replace them with carrot sticks with hummus, fruit, nuts and low fat cheese.
12. Smarten up your soup. Brothy soups are generally lower in calories and a good choice when you are craving comfort food. Steer clear of the cream based soups as they are loaded with calories and fat.
13. Take time to eat. It can take up to 30 minutes before you realize your are getting full. Sit, relax and enjoy your meal for once.
14. Don’t ever deny yourself. If you want dessert, enjoy! Just keep your portion size in check. Try enjoying a few pieces of dark chocolate with fruit for a great ending to any meal.
Losing weight can be a struggle but the more tools you have, the easier it will be. Good luck and enjoy the sun! 

Please visit my post sponsor:

A healthy lifestyle with a clean, healthy diet helps to improve and maintain your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can calculate your body mass index using this nifty calculator found on the official BMI private healthcare birmingham site.

ztashaz

breakfast, faq, health, jordan, soy, vegan, vegetarian

Banana heaven! + No Soy?

What could be better than starting the day with a cup of coffee and a hot banana muffin?

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The aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and banana lingered throughout the house all morning long. It was heavenly.

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I had a dab of Earth Balance on mine – the salty and sweet is one of the most comforting flavor combinations.

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So what does a mom do when she finds her son on the kitchen cabinets? Take a picture, of course!

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How he went from a little, helpless infant to an exploring, daredevil toddler still amazes me! I love you, my son!

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Hi Tasha, I love reading your blog. I am trying to eat better but I don’t know what to eat. I would love to become vegetarian but I can’t do soy products. Do you have any ideas? Linda

Hi Linda! Great question, I would love to be of some help with this.

soy Soy is in everything these days. Because it is such an abundant and cheap additive, it is being used just as much as corn is. Research also shows danger from large amounts of soy consumption in small children.

But soy does give us a lot of health benefits – protein, amino acids, calcium and shows it can lower the risk of heart disease. When consumed in moderation it provides vegetarians and non-vegetarians a great source of plant based protein.

Many people choose not to eat soy, or they simply cannot eat it due to reactions. I told myself I wasn’t going to consume too much soy based products when I made the initial decision to be vegetarian. Although, I do love incorporating a small amount of tofu in my meals, I don’t make it a habit. There are plenty of other protein sources for vegetarians and vegans.

beans Beans are amazing in every way. Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans… I love them all! I eat a lot of beans. I mix them in my salads, heat them up as a side dish and use them as you would with meat. Quinoa is also a great protein source.

I think a lot of people think once they  choose a vegetarian lifestyle they have to eat tofu and other soy products. This is not true. I eat so many fresh vegetables, wholesome fresh producegrains, nuts, seeds and fruit, that I don’t really make room in my diet for soy. I have been using a lot of raw food recipes – I love cooking, or shall I say NON cooking, with soaked nuts and beans. it is amazing what you can create with raw foods!

Linda, if you are serious about adapting a vegetarian lifestyle, I would start gathering recipes and looking at cook books. This is what I did before I went vegetarian. There is a few reasons why I suggest this:

  • You always have inspiration. No one likes to look in the fridge or in the pantry and see nothing to eat. Most likely you are starving, frustrated and feel like throwing in the towel.
  • Recipes are adaptable. You can easily take a recipe and make it your own; adding or deleting ingredients to please your palate.
  • It helps you think outside the vegetarian box. You will be surprised to see that many recipes do not use soy products.
  • And have fun! Browse your local farmer’s market, picking out freshly picked produce and create something wonderful! Remember: simple is best!

Linda, I hopes this helps your quest to becoming a soy-free vegetarian! Thank you for reading and I wish you the best!

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food, health, nutrition

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We all have our favorite foods. The ones we must always have in our pantry or fridge. Believe me, I have a lot! But there are a few that I always have, no matter what.

Brown Rice
2956234We all know how important eating whole grains are. I have been cooking large batches of brown rice in a water / low sodium vegetable broth mixture, keeping it in the fridge and warming it up on a daily basis. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that provides 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, niacin and potassium. It has a low glycemic index (GI), like raw vegetables and fruits, which reduces sugar spikes in our bodies. Why is this important? High glycemic foods break down quickly and act like sugar, giving a spike of insulin in our bodies. These spikes cause weight gain, sugar cravings and could eventually cause diabetes.  
I love eating brown rice with roasted or steamed vegetables – a simple, yet satisfying meal.

Avocados
ganze und halbe avocado isoliert auf weiss
Avocado’s have been given a bad name by some for their fat content. But this is why avocados are so healthy for us! They contain large amounts of monounsaturated fat which is “the good fat” for humans, especially for women. They also reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the harmful kind, and increase HDL, good cholesterol. Their creamy texture and delicious taste pairs well with so many items! Eat them sliced, diced or smashed! I toss them in my salads, top my eggs with them, smash them on veggie sandwiches and enjoy them plain.

Beans and Lentils
No wonder beans are named the Magical Fruit. They have a high amount of soluble fiber making this an ideal staple food for those that do not eat meat. They also deliver B vitamins such as folic acid, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron – very important for pregnant and nursing women. They are used for meat substitutes, dips, milks, as a binder in recipes and even desserts! Looking for a great vegan veggie burger? Try my Bean Burgers!

Nuts
Nuts are a great source of fiber, Omega fats and over all a perfect food. High in vitamins and nutrients, nuts pack a full punch of sustainable energy and nutrition. Walnuts are known to have the highest amount of good fat, omega 3’s. I buy raw nuts in bulk – almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pecans and walnuts. But because nuts are tightly packed with nutrients and fat, they are still calorie loaded you only need a small amount to benefit from their nutrients. Go with a handful or about a 1/4 cup. But be careful of pre-packaged nuts as they can have a high amount of sodium. Try them in salads, oatmeal, pancakes, baked goods, cereal, granola, with steamed or roasted vegetables… the ideas are endless! Or simply have a handful with a piece of fruit for a snack that will curb the mid-day munchies. See how simple it is to make your own Almond Milk, or try my delicious Cashew Cheese Spread.

Greens
Spinach, kale, mustard greens, chard, broccoli … any green plant is a must have in my diet! Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, perhaps the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Plus they taste great and versatile. Steamed, cooked in soups and stews, blended and roasted. Americans do not incorporate enough greens in their diet, besides iceberg lettuce (which has near to zero nutrients). Greens need to be part of our daily diets as they contain so many of the essential nutrients our body depends on.

Our health is based on nutrition – we are what we eat. Be conscious about what you are feeding your body. Eat a variety of plant based foods, limiting your intake of processed foods and un-natural ingredients.
Mother Earth created plants for a reason. Enjoy them!

What are some of your favorite foods?