Monthly Archives: May 2012

No Monday Blues Here

Happy Monday, everyone!

As some of you smirk at that, I must tell you what a happy Monday it has been for me. What I assumed would be a routine trip to Whole Foods turned into a Health Coach moment for me and I got to revel in how much I love what I do.

So here’s what happened…

I was shooting up and down the aisles, snatching everything I needed at lightening speed so I could get back to work. (I’m a very speedy machine these days.) Then I sort of got in the way of a woman while I was grabbing for the hemp seeds and I apologized and she just sort of looked at me and then looked up at the hemp seeds on the shelf and then back at me and back at the hemp seeds.

I felt a question coming on so I lingered there for a moment, taking the opportunity to make sure I had all the superfoods I needed. You know, you never want to leave Whole Foods without all your superfoods.

(Superfood = food that is exceptionally good for you.)

And finally she spoke. “So does that give you a ton of energy or something?”

Well, folks, I wanted to share with you all exactly what I shared with this nice lady at Whole Foods because this really is good information.

“I guess so! It’s a great source of protein,” I said. “It’s actually a perfect plant protein.”

“So it’s not a bad protein?”

“No! Not a bad protein. It’s an excellent protein!” I said. “And it’s great because you can put it on cereal or oatmeal, or sprinkle it on salads. It has a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture. It tastes kind of like quinoa but you have to cook quinoa and this you just sprinkle on. Easy!”

Now, for those of you who are wondering, I like the Navitas brand. The hemp seeds are certified organic, raw, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, fair trade, sustainably grown, and tasty. Some of you might only care about that last part. That’s cool.

But hemp seeds are one of the best sources of plant protein, as they have a high protein content and are a complete protein with all the essential amino acids. If you don’t know what that means, all you really have to know is that it’s the healthiest kind of protein.

In addition to protein, hemp is a great source of magnesium and zinc, and also a good source of potassium and iron. Additionally, hemp seeds have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ideal ratio. That might also be confusing, but what you really need to know here is that most of us are getting way too much omega-6, and the balance of the two is key.

I then grabbed a bag and handed it to her. She was excited to try it. I love spreading the superfood love!

And that brings me to my final point here on a Monday. This is a reminder to do what you love. There was a time when I dreaded a Monday as much as the next guy. But these days, Mondays are just another day to do what makes me happy.

Question of the day:
What makes YOU happy? Now, I know we all have answers to that so let’s hear from you below!!

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Filed under Gluten-free, Organic, Product Review, Raw, Superfoods, Vegan

Friday Fun, vol. 2 – Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day weekend is upon us, so let’s take a moment here to honor all of the wonderful women who have gone above and beyond each and every day, working tirelessly to protect their young. It’s not an easy job, Ladies! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! And that includes you, Mom. I love you – you’re amazing! Now, let’s enjoy some mama pics…

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Filed under Friday Fun

Who’s Hungry?

You’ve all been such patient blog followers, reading my posts on various health-related topics. So it’s high-time I post a recipe already. Right? Who’s hungry?!

This one is a big hit with my family and so easy to make, it’s kind of ridiculous.

Mushroom Barley Soup (makes 10 servings):

1 3/4 cups of water
4 cups of organic chicken broth
1 cup of low sodium organic chicken broth
16 oz of mushrooms
1 cup of carrots
1 cup of celery
1/4 cup of onion
1 cup of barley (either organic purple prairie barley or pearled barley)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
Italian seasoning
1/2 lb of organic chicken breast (optional)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery; cook and stir until onions are tender and transparent. Stir in mushrooms and continue to cook for a few minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and add barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a good amount of Italian seasoning (feel free to get really liberal with this one).

Couldn’t be easier. Couldn’t be more delicious. Good for dinner. Good for lunch. And healthy, too!

(And don’t forget to buy organic veggies. 😉 )

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite one pot dish?

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Filed under Chicken, One Pot Dish, Recipe, Soup

More on Soda

My post “Getting Down to Basics” covered a lot of info in one place. One of my readers asked for me to elaborate on why soda is bad for you. I want to emphasize here that I will absolutely go into more depth on any topic in a separate post. All you have to do is ask!

Soda. Whether diet or regular, soda is a beverage of chemicals. There is no nutritional value to drinking soda.

We know regular soda contains chemicals and sugar. And we know sugar is bad for us (see my post on sugar). But what about diet soda?

Diet sodas contain the following: aspartame, artificial colors and preservatives, and phosphoric acid.

Aspartame is one nasty artificial sweetener, folks. The easy explanation here is that “artificial” just isn’t food. But beyond that, why is it so bad? In short, aspartame is linked to approximately 92 different health problems. I won’t go into it all here, but you might be interested to know that in addition to nearly any problem you can think of – anxiety, depression, insomnia, eye damage…the list goes on – aspartame is linked to weight gain.

Say what?!

That’s right. Diet food is causing weight gain because the body doesn’t know how to process all of the fake ingredients, like aspartame and other artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. As a result, your body stores the unknown ingredients as toxins in fat cells to protect you. Fat, as much as we hate it, is there to protect us. So lose the toxins, lose the weight. Eat real food that your body knows how to digest. Aspartame is also known to cause unstable blood sugar and sweet cravings, which also lead to weight gain. You can read more about aspartame from Dr. Mercola, Dr. Hull, and The Health Ranger.

Phosphoric acid is a chemical that is added to keep your soda bubbly but is linked to lower bone density. When we consume phosphoric acid, calcium is released from your bones and teeth to balance the levels of phosphorus. When the body excretes phosphoric acid, the calcium goes right along with it. This contributes to our risk for osteoporosis.

Did you know that most of the world does not consume dairy products and their rates of osteoporosis are much lower than ours? This means that despite our high consumption of dairy, which is a great source of calcium, we’re still not protected. The Health Ranger has some good info on this one, too.

So, in summary, soda, whether diet or regular, is best avoided as much as possible. Water should be your drink of choice. Look for a post about water coming soon!

Always feel free to send me questions. Health Coach Jillian is here to help!

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Filed under Artificial, Artificial Flavors, Dairy, Diet, Sugar, Water

“I Think There’s Something To This Whole Organic Thing…”

…my husband said to me at the airport Sunday.

I shot him a funny look. “Yes. There is. Duh.”

Now, I don’t say “duh” to most people, but my husband does like to give me a hard time, so sometimes I have to get sarcastic right back at him. He listens to me talk ALL THE TIME about the merits of eating organic, cutting out the chemicals, the processed food, the genetically modified foods, and the foods that are a bit mysterious (I like to know everything that goes into my food). He’s a patient one.

And he knows I’m right, even if he isn’t as…hmm…shall we say…hardcore? as me. But yesterday he saw, in the itty bitty Tucson airport, quite a bit of organic snacks for sale. And he was surprised. And I was thrilled! Because not only did it give me some snack options for the flight home, but it was support for my argument. What’s my argument? That more and more people are wanting quality food with real ingredients and it should be available to us.

He was about to buy some non-organic cookie until the salesgirl said it was awful, so he put it down and bought this, at my insistence, instead:

And hooray! Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups are amazingly delicious. With the exception of my tiny nibble, the hubby happily polished these off. And while these are still technically candy, they’re far better than any conventional candy you could buy – both in taste and in ingredients. We tried the milk chocolate because that’s what the hubby likes, but they make dark chocolate, as well. And I recommend dark chocolate if you like it, as it is healthier, of course. You can find these online (click on the links above) or in local health food stores.

For me, I chose three less “desserty” selections, two of which were granola bars from the company, 18 Rabbits. One was the Nibblin’ Apricot Granola Bar and the other was the Cherry Apricot Bunny Bar.

These two flavors taste very similar but are different in size, so if you want a smaller snack, go with the Bunny and if you want a heartier snack, go with the full size bar (it’s almost twice the size of the Bunny). Ingredients are great, texture is chewy (my favorite), flavor is oaty, and the apricots lend a nice pop of tartness to both bars. I did not eat both all at once – portion control, people! Look for them at your local health food store or buy online (click on links above). There are other flavors, too, but I only tried these.

Now, for the total fail:

I’ve seen Amande Coconut Almond Yogurt (soy-free and dairy-free) at Whole Foods and almost bought it many times. I figured airport hunger would be the perfect excuse to finally try it, as I wasn’t jazzed by the nutrition facts. Well, it’s official: I’m not a fan. It is way too sweet for me and kind of has a funny taste. I don’t recommend it.

But this just shows you how many organic options there actually were at this wee airport – and we didn’t even buy them all! I’m very happy to see organic products creeping into the most unlikely places. And very glad to be able to do this little product review for you folks. Keep your eye out for organic products where you least expect them.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite organic product?

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Filed under Chocolate, Coconut, Organic, Product Review, Snacks