Category Archives: Deborah’s Blog

Navigating a Supermarket the Healthy Way

You walk into your local supermarket and you feel that familiar blast of cold air. As you shake and shiver, you may realize that supermarkets are kept that cold for the healthiest foods kept there. You know, the fresh fruits and vegetables on one side of the store, the dairy products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc) on the other side of the store, and the fresh meats and seafood in the back of the store. These are the foods on the perimeter of the store and the most important from a nutritional standpoint.

When you walk around the supermarket, keep that thought in mind. Fill your basket from the perimeter inwards. When you do make your way up and down the aisles, look at those food labels on everything you put in the cart. When you look at the nutrient list on the food label, make sure there is plenty of fiber and not a lot of saturated fat and sugar. Also, less is more when it comes to the list of ingredients. Do not buy something that has ingredients that sound like they were part of a science lab. Only whole, natural ingredients are ideal.

So, you’ve got a lot of choices when you walk through that door into the cold tundra they call a supermarket. But, once you’ve narrowed it down to the healthiest options, its really not that overwhelming to buy healthy and eat well.

Gluten Free Swaps

Anyone reading this knows someone who is “gluten free.” It’s become a movement in and of itself with people choosing to give up gluten for many different reasons. Of course, some people who are gluten free have celiac disease and the gluten can truly harm them. Others, have jumped on the gluten free bandwagon because they are gluten sensitive ( GI issues when eating gluten, skin problems, etc.) and still others because they think it’ll help them lose weight or be healthier.

I’m here today to go on record that if you do not need to be gluten free for real medical reasons or sensitivity issues, you should not. Gluten free, if not done the right way, can be really unhealthy. If you just go choose packaged foods that say they’re gluten free without looking at nutrients, you may find yourself nutrient deficient and feeling unwell.

There is a right way to do gluten free. Choose a gluten free bread that’s nutrient rich, like a flax and fiber or millet and chia bread over a plain nutrient-void gluten free bread. Choose a chickpea pasta like the one from Banza that touts 25g of protein and 13g of fiber vs 4g protein and 2g of fiber in regular gluten free pasta. Choose baked sweet potato “fries” with peel on vs regular white potato fries to get a whopping dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, fewer calories and more fiber than your plain old white potato.

Take home message: If you need to be gluten free, do it the healthy way. Choose foods that are as high in nutrients as their whole grain gluten containing counterparts. They are out there…..you just need to know what to look for.

Coconut Oil for Dogs

Life is better with a dog. Or two in my case. In my family, we tag each other in cute and funny dog memes. We are, for better or worse, unconditional dog lovers. My dogs get their yearly check ups, I bought a fleece jacket for my black lab-Bassett hound mix for when its too cold out and the fur doesn’t keep her warm. My corgi, on the other hand, seems to stay nice and toasty under all that long fur of hers. I make sure they exercise often (it’s a win-win because it means I exercise too), and I feed them only what’s good for them (their food, fruits, vegetables and coconut oil).

Yup, coconut oil. It’s all the rage for people, and now even the American Kennel Club agrees that it’s good for dogs too. Did you know that coconut oil contains Lauric Acid which has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It may also fight off viruses. Coconut oil is made up of roughly 90% Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which some vets believe can help with digestion and digestive issues, along with improving brain function in older dogs. And, that’s not it, there are benefits to using coconut oil topically like helping itchy, dry skin, hot spots and even make their coats shiny and sleek.

My dogs get a teaspoon full of coconut oil every morning and they LOVE it!! But, not all coconut oil is created equal. Look for organic virgin unrefined coconut oil ( I love the one from Carrington Farms) to make sure your furry friend is reaping all the benefits this amazing oil can give them. It’s tail-wagging goodness from the inside out.

Fueling the Body

Yesterday, I walked into my local bike shop to have my bike cleaned and tuned up so I can start riding again as the weather is FINALLY getting warmer. It is April, after all.

The owner of the bike shop had a beautiful baby boy (his first child) 5 weeks ago and was telling me that he’d been up since 4 am because of his newborn son. I actually laughed out loud. I told him that I’d been up since 3:30 am when my college aged daughter called me because she had food poisoning and needed me to help her. Being a parent means you’re all in, all the time. The baby and toddler years are hard but the teenage years are hard, too.

I learned a long time ago that I had to take care of myself in order to be the best parent and professional I can be. I eat right. I ride my bike. I run. I take yoga and Pilates classes. My day starts at 5:30 so I can walk and feed the dogs, take care of my morning chores, and return all emails and texts before my younger daughter gets up for school.

I start my day with a cup (or two) of coffee and something quick and nutritious. Sometimes it’s oatmeal with banana, or greek yogurt with flax and berries, or a delicious tera’s whey protein shake. The tera’s is my absolute go-to when I’m running late and need to fuel my body for the day ahead.

Life is hard…and complicated. Fueling your body shouldn’t be.

Green Smoothie

Hello, March!! What an exciting time of year. Spring is almost here, the birds are migrating back from their winter hiatus, flowers are starting to bloom, it’s National Nutrition Month, and, of course, who could forget that St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner.

March is also a good time to focus in again on your health. That’s why I reach for my favorite green smoothie. It’s chock full of fruits and vegetables (notice I make the smoothie with the skin on both the cucumber and pear to get the most fiber and nutrients out of them), with a bit of creaminess from the almond milk and some nuttiness from the seeds. All in all, it creates a drink that’s high in nutrients, fiber, calcium, and omega 3s!!

Easy to make, delicious to drink, and good for your body!!

Remember: Go green, go healthy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped honeydew
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cut up ripe pear (skin on)
  • 1 cut up kiwi
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber (skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Carrington Farm’ Milled Flax Seed
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk

Place in blender. Make sure all the chunks and skin from vegetables is puréed completely.

Drink to your health!!

 

Hello 2018!! Happy Women’s Healthy Weight Day!!

Was your New Year’s Resolution to “get healthy?” Do you think it means that you will never enjoy what you are eating again because it will taste like cardboard and be flavorless? NOPE!! There are plenty of delicious, healthy for you foods to enjoy all while sticking to your New Years resolution.

So, most likely, you know the basics of eating healthy. Stick with lean protein choices, such as chicken and turkey breast, fish, lean cuts of beef and legumes and beans. Choose foods that are grilled or roasted and not fried. Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whole grain foods are the better choice. Limit sugary sweets. And, most importantly, watch those portions. Eat off a smaller plate with smaller utensils and do not eat late into the evening when your body is getting itself ready to sleep. The metabolism tends to slow down towards nighttime. And, of course, drink plenty of water.

So…what does a healthy day of meals look like?

Breakfast (7am):

  • Egg white omelet with vegetables and a slice of whole grain toast with a small amount of smushed avacado
  • coffee with skim milk
  • Water

Lunch (12:00pm ): 

  • Whole grain wrap with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, mustard and a side salad topped with touch of olive oil and vinegar and water
  • Water

Snack (3:00pm):

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with a cup of berries and Carrington Farms Chia seed on top
  • Water or tea

Dinner (7:00):

  • Wild salmon on top of sautéed spinach and mushrooms with a small side of wild rice
  • Water

(And then, after dinner I always have a sweet treat. In my mind, dessert “closes the meal” so I know I’m done eating for the day.)

Sweet Treat (8:00):

 

Make 2018 the best year yet!! Here’s to a healthier you !!

Simple Cooking Swaps to Fall into Health

It’s a new season and a new reason to clean out your pantry and fridge. Get rid the expired and unhealthy items and replace them with some better for you options.

We all want to cook healthier but don’t want to sacrifice flavor for health, right? So the next time you roast up vegetables like broccoli or Brussels Sprouts, mist them with Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil Cooking Spray instead of dousing them in olive oil and then drizzle a little bit of Carrington Farms Garlic or Rosemary flavored liquid cooking oil on top. Voila! You have just saved yourself from calorie overload and added a delicious burst of flavor.

If you love your smoothies like I do, toss out your old protein powder that has a list of ingredients too numerous to count and certainly too difficult to pronounce, and add in Carrington Farms’ Coconut Powder. It has 20 grams of protein per serving and only 3, yes I said 3, pronounceable ingredients: organic coconut powder, organic pumpkin powder, and organic pea powder. Simply delicious and nutritious. Available in Chocolate flavor too– oh, the possibilities!!

Let’s be honest, holiday season is rapidly approaching and there’s baking to be done. But you put so much time and effort into baking your cookies or cakes for the holidays, shouldn’t you find a healthier option than butter? Time to pull out Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil and Ghee blend. It offers all the health benefits of coconut oil and, because it’s ghee, it’s good for people who have lactose sensitivity and it comes from grass fed cows. It tastes like butter, only better. Ready, set, bake!

What Do I Pack for a Healthy Lunch for Myself and My Kids?- A Memoir

Back to school means back to packing school lunches. Yup, I said it! If you’re like me, those words sent a shudder down your spine. What’s a busy mom to do? I’ll tell you what I do… I remember that “Pretty Colors Feel Very Soothing.” Okay, okay. Now you’re scratching your
head and wondering if this is some kind of yoga-inspired meditation? Well, I guess it could be but that’s not it. Remember those words—

Pretty (P is for Protein)
Colors (C is for Carbohydrate- whole grain, of course!)
Feel (F is for Fruits)
Very (V is for Vegetables)
Soothing (S is for Snack)

Here are some healthy school lunch ideas (it also works for bagged lunches you take to work): Oven roasted turkey (P) on whole wheat bread (C) with lettuce and tomatoes (V) and a snack
bag of grapes (F) and a 100 calorie snack pack (S).
or Single serve container of plain or vanilla nonfat greek yogurt (P) with snack bag of blueberries to either be mixed in or eaten separately (F), whole grain, high fiber bar (C), snack size bag of
baby carrots (V) and a single serve bag of air popped popcorn (S)
or Last night’s left over grilled chicken breast cut up into small pieces (P) with brown rice (C) and broccoli florets (V) mixed together in a container, with a small cup of melon (F) and 100 calorie
pack of your choice (S) You get the idea. Be creative and give the kids what they like but don’t compromise the nutrients they need. You can give sandwiches, yogurts, soups or leftovers and know that they
have the well-balanced, healthy lunch they need to get through the day.

Oh, and, of course, don’t forget the water!

Natural Flavors vs. Artificial Flavors

Butylated hydroxytoluene…

Polyglycerol polyricinoleate…

Tongue twisters, right?  The above words are actually names of additives found in everyday foods!  Which brings me to an excellent point…why eat what you can’t pronounce.  I can’t stress this enough…  read the label on the foods you buy.

You learn a lot about the amount of sugar, fat, fiber, protein and calories in a single serving. You can also see what’s actually in the food. The general rule of thumb when reading the list of ingredients in foods is to make sure you can pronounce the ingredients. If you can, it’s a good bet it contains wholesome ingredients.

But, Deb, you ask, what about “natural flavors”? Are they a better option than “artificial flavors”? The definitive answer—NO.

Natural flavors originate from a whole food, for example, fruit, and then get extracted and made into a chemical compound that can have 50-100 ingredients; artificial flavors are lab-made with the same number of ingredients. Both are equally unhealthy.

However, is it realistic to go through life without ever eating something that doesn’t have natural flavors? Probably not. But, I’d recommend avoiding them whenever possible and choosing whole foods, like bananas, apples, and pears, instead of foods sweetened with natural flavors to taste like fruit.

It’s much better to eat foods with ingredients grown in the ground rather than made in a lab!

MCTs– What are they?

It seem that MCTs are all over the news. What’s the real deal? You hear about possible health benefits of them and you are not even sure what they stand for. MCTs are Medium Chain Triglycerides.  They are unique because their chemical configuration enables them to be absorbed easily in the gastrointestinal tract. Other fats need to be broken down and digested with the help of bile acids and enzymes; MCTs are rapidly absorbed intact and travel directly to the liver to be used for energy. Due to this process, MCTs, unlike LCTs (long chain trigylcerides), are not stored as fat but used as fuel for the body in a way that is similar to the digestion of carbohydrates.

As is true for all fats, use foods with MCTs sparingly. Fats are high in calories and those calories can add up quickly if you use too much. That’s why moderation is always the best bet for overall health and wellness.