Tag Archives: Food

Microwave Goodbye

If you’re trying to eat healthy, wave goodbye to that invention that is destroying your food.

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Your microwave doesn’t just take up space in your kitchen, it denatures your food, destroying the nutrients and causing mutations in the molecules and proteins, turning some into carcinogens and rendering others useless.

So think about all that money you spent on organic food (because you read my blog and want to get on the organic bandwagon ūüėČ )…

…and think about how nutrient-poor our soil is to begin with…

…and then think about how long that food was sitting in the grocery store and now in your fridge before you decided to eat it…

…and now think about how you’ll destroy what little is left when you put it in the microwave.

That’s just a waste of money, a waste of calories, and a waste of trying to eat more veggies (which I know you are doing!).

And those containers that are in there with your food?

Microwaving both paper, plastic, and melamine causes them to release toxins that are extremely harmful to your health: BPA, dioxins, PET, and benzene, to name a few.

Think those microwaveable popcorn bags are safe? Think again.

Next time you reach for the Jiffy Pop, keep in mind the corn is genetically modified, the “butter” flavor in no way resembles real butter, and¬†the bag lining has harmful chemicals that leach into your food (if you can call it that). Now add the microwave damage on top of that. That disaster in a bag just made the list of of 10 Most Unhealthy Cancer Causing Foods.

And hey, New Mamas: don’t even think about warming baby bottles in there. Consider all the reasons above and also consider that microwaving causes hot pockets in food and liquid which can end up burning your baby.

In retrospect, it shocks me that it didn’t occur to me sooner…like when I was younger and everyone said, “Don’t stand in front of the microwave while you ‘nuke’ your food.”

Um hello? That should’ve clued us all in right then and there.

We can’t stand in front of it, but we can put into our bodies whatever was in there, even though our cells are made from the food that we eat.

Oh, and we call it “nuking.”

Great.

I’ve been microwave-free for quite some time now, but it still doesn’t feel like long enough because I can remember a time – oh, like the majority of my life – when it was the only way I knew how to cook my food. Since I discovered that other invention called the stove, and it’s neighbor, the oven, things have gotten much more fun in my kitchen.

Microwaves have long been embraced by those who want to expedite the cooking process. Because we’re all in a rush. Because we have no time to wait or to cook. Because we want things easy.

If you’re anything like me, you see some BIG RED FLAGS¬†there.

Ask your favorite health coach and I’m going to tell you that we shouldn’t be living our lives in such a rush. (And next time you buy one of those microwavable plastic pouches full of vegetables, and put it all in the microwave the way they tell you to do it, know that I’m cringing somewhere.)

Cooking is meant to be a celebration of food and taste, a recreational activity to be shared with others or to be enjoyed by oneself as a time out from the madness. For me, it is like a laboratory experiment, and things can get interesting when I ditch the recipe and go rogue.

But if you still really want some fast food, try a bag of baby carrots. Raw. Can’t get any faster than that.

And if you’re hungrier than that and don’t want to bother “cooking,” throw together a big salad with all kinds of fun ingredients in it, fresh or leftover:
-your favorite veggies (raw, steamed, sauteed, grilled, marinated…)
-avocado
-olives
-lentils
-seeds (hemp, chia, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, buckwheat…)
-nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts…)
-fruit (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, berries, pears, apples, kiwi, dried fruit…)
-beans (garbanzo, black, white, kidney…and always Eden Organics if canned because they’re BPA-free)
-fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley…)
-organic chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, or low-mercury seafood (salmon, sardines, bay shrimp)
…get creative!

And slow down.

Enjoy your food.

Enjoy preparing your food.

And wave good riddance to your microwave.

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Filed under BPA, Chemicals, Fast Food, Health, Superfoods, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

Let’s Go Shopping!

As a health coach, one of the things I do is give grocery tours. Since not all of my readers are local, consider this your free online grocery tour of Trader Joe’s!

“But Trader Joe’s is so healthy!” you say.¬†“Can’t I buy anything there?”

No, my friends. Not all Trader Joe’s offerings are created equal. Many products contain soy and other iffy ingredients or far too much sugar to be healthy.¬†One of the best things you can do for your health is to learn to read labels.

One tip I’ll give you right here, right now is this: the fewer ingredients, the better.

That being said, Trader’s does offer some wonderful products for amazing prices. So let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Organic Petit Pain Pascal 
Trader Joe’s made a winner here. With only 3 ingredients – organic whole wheat flour, water, and salt – this bread is organic, whole grain and so delicious. You’ll find it in the day bread section, which means they deliver them each morning and not every store gets them every day.

Fyi: Do not confuse it with the Pain Pascal demi-loaf. The Petit Pain Pascal is much softer and moister than it’s cousin the demi-loaf, which I found to be obscenely large and rather dry, but serviceable in a pinch.

Check with your local store for the deets. Oh and did I mention it’s $.99?

Makes you wonder why so many companies add more ingredients when only 3 taste this good…

2. Frozen Organic Berries

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.18.52 AMIn my germ-fighting post, I mentioned the importance of eating plenty of berries to stay healthy this time of year. I love that Trader’s has a frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. This combo-pack really elevates a bowl of oatmeal.

Their frozen berry selection is seasonal, though, so at times you’ll find the mixed berries or wild organic blueberries or organic raspberries. All get my stamp of approval on taste, health, and price. $2.99 (rasps)/$3.49 (mix)/$3.99 (bluebs)

3. Power to the Greens Mix

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.44.50 AMSeveral months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Erika from Raw Green Fitness, brought this product to my attention. And I am so grateful! This bag of mixed greens (baby kale, baby spinach, and baby chard) is super healthy and gets a good mix of different greens into your meal. Cook or eat raw. Each bag is $1.99.

4. Organic Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Treats
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I’ve yet to meet a pooch who doesn’t dig these tasty treats. And at $2.99 a bag, you can feel good about feeding your four-legged bestie good stuff for a great price.

5. Cheapest. Therapy. Ever.

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.19.47 AMI am flipping over their daffodils right now. One bunch of these bright yellow beauties is $1.29, lasts about a week, and makes me smile every time I pass by the vase. Find a bloom that brightens your day!

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Filed under BPA, Fruit, Health, Organic, Product Review, Products, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

Dehydratin’ Away…

So the hubby and I are pretty much inseparable. We work together, we live together (obviously), and we go places together. It’s awesome. And the dog ain’t far behind.

I mean, look at that face. Would you leave her? Exactly.

But this week, I have a new best friend. Her name is Excalibur.

That’s right. Health Coach Jillian is dehydratin’ the bejesus out of anything she can get her hands on with her new 5-tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator.¬†It’s BPA-free and phthalate-free.

But if the hubby feels threatened, he has only himself to blame. (And maybe two employees at Whole Foods.) All three commented on my out of control addiction to kale chips. All of them said, “Why don’t you make your own?”

The first time I got the question I replied, “Whenever I make kale chips in the oven, they burn.”

But last time I got the question, I fielded it differently. “MY DEHYDRATOR IS ON ITS WAY TO ME!! I JUST ORDERED IT!”

Okay, maybe the cashier was unprepared for that level of enthusiasm, but he asked and with my Excalibur en route, I was excited. Super excited.

So now I’m trying anything that sounds like it will taste good when dried out: apple with cinnamon, strawberries, figs, carrots, zucchini, and of course, kale.

Now, one might wonder what the point is. Don’t we want the water that’s in these foods? Sure!

And when you eat dehydrated food you should drink water to rehydrate. So it seems totally pointless, right?

Not exactly.

I keep the temperature on 105F so the foods are still technically raw, but cooked. Cooking with high heat destroys much of the nutrients in food, but at this temperature, I’m preserving the nutrients and the live enzymes that are in raw food. And¬†I get on-the-go healthy snack food – like carrot chips and zucchini chips. This way, I can make some healthy concoctions instead of always eating cold food out of the fridge. But mostly, I just eat truckloads of kale chips.

Finally, I gotta give a special shout out to the Mom and Dad – my new bestie is a result of some birthday cashola (yes, HCJ gets older in the summertime). Thanks, guys! I’m having a blast with my new toy!

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Filed under BPA, Chemicals, Fruit, Health, Organic, Raw, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Water

Mission: Intuition

Sometimes you’re faced with a tricky situation, requiring you to make tricky choices. You know the outcome you want but you’re not quite sure how to get there. But then you just sort of blindly dive into it and do what you need to do, and it feels so right.

Using your intuition is important both in life and in eating.

When they say, “Trust your gut,” it’s because everything is connected when it comes to the body. Listen to what feels right both in your actions and in your food choices.

Your body tells you what it wants.

Craving protein? Have some protein!

Feeling full? Stop eating!

Thirsty? Drink some water!

Tired? Get more sleep!

We need to start listening to our bodies more, fueling it the way we need to fuel it at that particular moment, whether calorically, spiritually, or otherwise. This is living honestly, being authentic.

Check out this article on how living honestly means a healthier you. And check out this article about eating intuitively.

Keep in mind that your body works very hard to protect you from toxins in the food you eat, the air you breathe, the products you put on your skin, etc…and yet we allow ourselves to be in toxic situations that adversely affect our health. And when that happens, all the kale in the world can’t save us.

Eat right and do right. In the end, they’re one and the same.

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Sum-Sum-Summatime!

Ah, Summer. I love the summer. I mean, who doesn’t right? Nothing like the long, sunny days and happy people in vacation mode.

Well, this is the perfect time to talk about a hot topic that some of you might have heard a bit about. These days, it’s all about eating locally and seasonally.

The reason these are important is that your body is meant to eat the foods that grow in your climate at this particular moment. You are what you eat, so you should be eating the food that’s thriving where you are.

Also, there’s balance in the opposition. That’s why eating a juicy piece of fruit in the heat of summer feels so much better than a big, hot, heavy meal. And a belly warming stew feels just right in the dead of snowy winter.

Additionally,¬†eating locally reduces pollution and costs associated with transporting foods…and that translates into cost savings for you and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your part to help the environment. And don’t forget about supporting local farmers rather than Big Ag – we need to take a stand against a system that cares more about money than the health of this nation. Check, check, and check!

The first time I experienced the “aha moment” of eating seasonally was this year…when the organic apples ran out at Whole Foods. My snack of an apple and peanut butter had been the culinary highlight of my day for months (I’m so wild and crazy like that)¬†so I was really bummed at first, but what I realized was that I didn’t actually want it anymore – once I broke out of my routine, my taste buds were totally fine! An apple in July? No thank you!

Without my daily Fuji, I was left to explore the summer fruit, and I have to say, I’ve been having a blast with it.

I always love exploring new foods, but I’ve also had the desire for some old familiars that I don’t normally buy.

Last week at Whole Foods: raspberries and red grapes are my usuals, but I threw a couple of plums into the mix.

Farmer’s Market: nectarines. Craving nectarines.

This week at Whole Foods: apricots, red grapes (they were so crazy delicious last week that they went quickly), and strawberries (which are totally blowing my mind right now). I don’t remember the last time I bought strawberries. And I cannot stop eating them.

Later this week: TBD and loving it!

So I encourage you all to explore in season produce. See what you can add to your plate that you haven’t had in awhile…or maybe even ever!

Parent Tip: For all you folks with youngsters, this can be a great way to explore new foods with your little ones. Take them to a farmer’s market or just to the produce section of the grocery and show them all the wonderful, brightly colored fruits and veggies. Encourage them to help you shop – learning about produce and being involved in the decision-making will be fun for them and will help establish better eating habits for life.

As always, I do encourage you to choose organic, at least for the produce on the dirty dozen list. Check it out here if you need a refresher.

Check out this site for info on what’s in season in your area. It’s a great resource!

And lastly, in case you didn’t notice, I now have a fabulous badge on my site. My blog was named one of The Top 100 Health Coach Blogs 2012 by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be recognized. Gotta give a huge thanks to all my loyal readers and to everyone who has been super supportive, especially since the news broke and the badge went up! Crazy to think that doing what I love is just so damn easy… ūüėČ

Now for the Question of the Day…
What quintessential summer moment stands out for you this year?

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Filed under Fruit, Health, Organic, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables