Thursday, February 28, 2013

Starting Tomorrow—ALL RAW—One Week a Month!

Tomorrow's the day! 

I'm kicking off a NEW healthy habit by consuming ALL RAW for the first week of every month. 

Don't tell me I'm crazy or that I can't do it. For me, it's often easier to act on the "all or nothing" principle. Somehow that makes it easier. And I really want to kick-start my metabolism and literally pour in the juicy nutrition to my less-than-healthy self.

I'm excited about this! I think since January I lost some of my momentum so this will kick it up a notch. It'll mean a lot of fresh juicing, some cool fruity (and green)
smoothies, and my usual big salads but none of the no-nos! Fresh fruits and veggies for snacking. Raw nuts, seeds and oils are OK, but only on a minimal basis. I intend to keep it simple. BTW my hubby is going to do it too, but I have the feeling he may need some extras thrown in. I'll be prepared.

In case you are interested, at the end of this post I'll share just a bit of my Healthy Habits Journey thus far. For the rest of my blabbering I'm listing several superfoods (and some of their wonderful benefits) that I'll be focusing on in my raw diet this week.
 
Here's a great juice recipe that will help me avoid migraines:




I LOVE beets and their anti-infammatory response 
and immune system boosting benefits!



I just noticed that part about its being called "nature's Viagra"—well OK, that too!



This is a neat chart that I'll keep in mind.
















Lemon juice is consumed year round on a daily basis in our household. Lemon or lime juice goes in almost all our juice recipes. I adore lemon!



I love the taste of ginger and it's often 
in my juice recipes as well.  

Either tonight or tomorrow I'm making a carrot ginger soup (all raw) with a creamy base of avocado. I'm looking forward to it!

(How about if I share with you some of the awesome benefits of ginger when I post the soup recipe in the next few days?)


 
According to Natural News,  consuming garlic on a daily basis may be one of your best defenses against infection and inflammation causing disease.

Garlic is another important food item that is a part of our daily cooking and un-cooking experience. We buy it in bulk and use it in all sorts of ways. 

My husband and sons love it minced raw on popcorn with melted butter. I add a few bulbs to my juice recipes. In winter months when the flu is threatening you may find us eating it raw, sliced fine between two crackers. Lots of it goes in Italian dishes, in stir-frys, and on veggies. Garlic bread and garlic potatoes are two of our family's favorite side dishes. 

Eating it raw is rather spicy (depending on the garlic you have) and cooking it gives it more of a mild flavor. My husband has successfully used it twice to ward off a tooth infection. It's natural antibiotic properties are very effective!


 A New Energizing Focus

I started a new workout with T-Tapp that I'm very excited about. I purchased the DVD which makes the routines easy to follow. Since I'm an "older" lady (but young at heart) its focus on spinal alignment, neurokinetic flow, and lymphatic function working together in a whole-body system sounds just perfect for me. It's rehabilitative nature will be great for my knees, back, and neck, plus more. In just the short time I've been doing some of the exercises I've surely felt the difference as I'm using new muscle systems. It's a whole new concept to me and it makes a lot of sense.

Healthy Habits Update

Since it's the end of February I feel like I should be giving you an update on how I did last month. Here's just a little: 

I'm still food journaling but I'm no longer keeping track of the numbers. I've turned it into a list of items to check off and it works well for me that way.
  • Drinking my greens daily plus additional water (still not enough—but improved)
  • Exercising most every day (I missed about four days this week due to a minor injury)
  • No weight loss in Feb. Could it be I'm gaining more muscle due to the exercising? (With T-Tapp I will be adding muscle.)
  • I felt good overall but a bit tired some days (that's where I "pick myself up and carry on")
  • No wheat or chocolate (I cheated—but just a teeny tiny bit!) 
  • Snacking? (I'm still eating too often and I had some cravings for wheat, so instead I ate too many other snack foods made from wheat-less grains.) Maybe that's why no weight loss!
  • During the whole month I only had one bout of several days with a bad headache. (Improved!)

I love so many things that Charlotte Gerson and the Gerson Institute says about health and disease. If you've never heard of her or her late father's famous Gerson Therapy mindset, you'll be pleased to check it out. There's so much to learn!

Our bodies benefit in a miraculously designed way that is healing to its whole. For example, I can aid my thyroid function, improve my gut issues, and eliminate migraines, arthritis and heart disease all at the same time.

I'm looking forward to the healthy benefits I'll have from my ALL RAW—One Week a Month Experience! Anyone care to join me?

Linking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday



and Wellness Wednesdays

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chia Seed — A Superfood of Choice

Do you need a reason 
to choose wisely and eat healthy? 

I don't. I have plenty of reasons! 

The choices you make today and tomorrow will catch up to you one day and hopefully you'll have a positive outcome.

Is it natural, just because a person is aging, that she has to look forward to disease? No! Many of the diseases we associate with the elderly have no basis for age. In fact, younger and younger folks are subjected to the same diseases once attributed to the elderly. We may not have to go that route—if you make some healthy changes.


If there's a nutrient- and antioxidant-rich, cardiac-healthy, immune-boosting, super-food out there, I want to know about it.

Chia seed has all that and more!

 Cinfully Delicious—
Banana Chia Seed Pudding

Did you know that eating chia seeds will boost your energy and promote weight loss? They are low in calories yet high in fiber, are a complete source of protein, and very rich in omega-3 fatty acids (even more so than flax seeds). They contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron,  niacin, and zinc. 

How about these . . .
  • Five times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones?
  • Two times the amount of potassium as bananas?
  • Three times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries?
  • Three times more iron than spinach?
This sounds terrific, but I'm thinking you'd need to eat an awful lot of seeds in proportion to these foods, yet why not make this healthy choice and add chia seed into your daily intake? It's easy to do!

The Banana Chia Pudding shown above is just one of many ways to use chia seeds. It's tasty and very filling. Kids would really go for this too! There is a variety of uses for chia seed in raw recipes (including smoothies) and you can grind them to add to breads, cookies and baked goods. Use chia seeds for toppings, in sauces and drinks, and more. You can even make Chia Seed Ice Cream.


Cinful Banana Chia Seed Pudding

2 1/2 Tbsp chia seed
1 cup almond milk

1 mashed banana 
2 pitted and chopped Medjool dates (or your choice sweetener to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Soak chia seeds in almond milk and mix well. Let rest in bowl for 10 minutes. Stir well and allow to rest an additional 10 minutes. Mash banana, cut dates, and combine all ingredients together. Blend in a blender until mixed well. Pour into dessert cups and chill to set. Garnish with fresh berries before eating if you desire.
This recipe makes two servings.


 Bob's Red Mill Brand That I Used


 Soaking Chia Seeds in Almond Milk


Add Mashed Banana and Chopped Dates


 Blending Chia Pudding Mixture


 It Makes a Double Serving
 Garnish With Fruit


How Does Chia Seed Compare to Flax Seed?

Flax is still a popular choice for many (I love my dehydrated flax seed crackers) and according to Dr.Weil there are advantages to choosing chia seeds:
Chia seed has an "advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar."

 Slowing the conversion of carbs into sugar is good news indeed, especially for diabetics and dieters. Natural News reports:

"Chia has been called a dieter's dream food because when added to foods, it bulks them up, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavor. Thus, someone can eat a typical serving, yet only consume about half the calories they might have eaten . . . "

 Our Frugal Find Today

My husband walked in the door this afternoon claiming he had a special "gift" for me—a whole boxful of lemons—only 19 cents each! Thank you honey.

We enjoy lemon and lime juice year round because we stock up on the best buys and freeze the juice in containers for later use. Below is a refreshing way to drink your lemonade . . .

 Chia Fresca (Lemonade)


Some people describe chia seed as having a nutlike flavor. Really, it doesn't have a taste, but some folks may need to get used to its gel-like quality when it's added to fluids. I used to occasionally buy a berry flavored drink with chia seed at the local Health Food Market. I loved it, but the first taste was strange because it was thick, with seeds floating around in it.

For years, my daily lemon-or-lime drink consists of 2 Tbsp fresh juice added to a tall glass of water with a little stevia to taste. To make Chia Fresca (as known in Mexico and Central America) I mix in 1/2 to 1 tsp chia seeds. You can substitute your own sweetener—I also like it with one Tbs of maple syrup and just a dash of cayenne pepper. 

You could try adding it into other juices as well. From now on I'm going to get a fix of chia seeds daily—they can go in my daily green drink or I'll have Chia Fresco and try it in other recipes! What about you?

Use the following links to find more raw recipes and information about chia seed:


10 benefits of eating chia seeds 
Q & A Library - Dr. Weil  
The Chia 'Cheat Sheet' and Ten Raw Chia Recipes
40 ways to use chia seeds 
Chia Seed Nutrition Facts


Linking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday

 and Wellness Wednesday

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How I See It — Healthy Habits Week 7


My Food & Health Journal Exposed!

In the past month I have kept a record of what goes in (and though I didn't write it down—what comes out). As a result, I've got a better idea of where I'm at and where I wish to be with regards to my health goals. Let's see what I found on my inspection . . .
Snacking and Choices. 
Last week I confessed that I have the habit of eating too often—I need to curb my snacking, and I definitely need more work in this area. 

What have I been eating between meals and for snacks?  As far as content, I think I chose wisely most of the time. Though I did buy some packaged products like gluten-free seed and rice crackers and sprouted grain raisin bread, I also made some of my own snacks. I read labeIs and prefer non-processed foods. We ate fresh fruit in moderation and add fruit in our smoothies and fresh juices. On more than one occasion people have commented in the grocery line how healthy we shop (and must eat) because of the large amount of produce we buy. (Anyone who juices must look similar.) But it's true that we fill up on the fresh bargains we find and I most always find a way to use or freeze them. 

Now, this doesn't mean my pantry is "clean" of packaged and processed crap! We eat canned soups occasionally and stock up on bargain foods for storage just in case of an emergency. Hubby also can eat foods that I can't and he does most of the shopping! That means you end up eating what you buy or have on hand.



I have granola with almond milk at times and frozen fruit with Greek yogurt on occasion. I eat too many nuts, usually roasted, since that's what hubby likes and buys. I keep a supply of raw almond butter on hand and I love it on bananas. But, I do use raw nuts in recipes and apparently, I love to make more raw food desserts than raw food meals or anything else. Sometimes I just like a big spoonful of coconut oil! I eat salads everyday but I usually don't snack on raw veggies. We eat garlic popcorn every Sunday night.

It's a lifestyle change for me—not really a "diet" so it has to be a progression of healthy eating habits for me to be successful. Every year adds new changes to the way we view food and the habits we make.

 

Sugar 'n' Sweets.  
There are some sweets I couldn't resist but I enjoyed them, and mostly I make them myself: apple cobbler, strawberry shortcake, non-dairy pudding and several pies. I had a few bites of Reeses Pieces, some chocolate, and a leftover Christmas caramel. I don't think I should deprive myself! 

I seldom use white sugar in recipes, in fact I don't remember the last time I've used it. I have a variety of sweeteners I use including stevia, honey, sucanat, coconut sugar, maple syrup and brown rice syrup. I haven't made the decision (yet) to take sweeteners away. In moderation they are fine, but it depends on your sweet tooth.



New Foods and Recipes. 
This not-raw Easy-Peazy Paleo Pizza was so good! It uses almond meal/flour and eggs in the crust which is a nice alternative to wheat! I've made just a few things experimenting with gluten-free flours like the tasty cinnamon rolls I made for my family yesterday. I used dandelion greens again—a new food for me this year, and we've been juicing a LOT of pomegranates! You'll frequently find Bok choy and Swiss Rainbow Chard in my soups and salads but I've also bought several pretty artisan lettuces that are fun to eat and make our salads quite gourmet-style. Beets have been a staple, and they are wonderful used raw in juice recipes (including the beet greens). Avocados are new to me to use in recipes. Did you see my Lucious Lime Mousse? Next on my list is a raw carrot-ginger soup.

Raw Food Percentage.  
Of course, this includes fruits and vegetables as well as raw nuts and seeds. (Read this about enzymes and eating your food uncooked.) Eventually, my goal is to reach 50% raw. I'm not there . . . at all. A few days I ate more than 50% but on average I'm guessing 25-30%. I'm trying to eat something raw along with each meal, and we eat a big salad just about every day. When we eat at restaurants which typically is twice a week, I almost always order a large mixed green salad (no cheese or croutons). I'm seriously thinking of starting a week of juicing and only raw fruits and veggies soon and perhaps do that once a month or every so often. I want to see what kind of difference it makes in the way I feel and how easy it is to do. (I'll let you know!)


Fiber.  
I've underestimated the need for fiber in past years, and keeping track in my journal showed me just how those numbers can add up and cancel out hundreds of calories consumed per day. My bowels are improved; fiber absorbs toxins and waste products, carrying them out of the body. Eating fiber-rich food helps fight heart disease and cancer, and it keeps you feeling full, longer. Fiber also helps balance the body's interaction with simple sugars so as not to store as much fat. 

My goal was for 35 grams of fiber per day (the U.S.D.A. recommends women to get 25-30 grams). A few days I hit the 30s; my high was 37. Most days I was in the 20s and a few days in the teens.
 
Water Consumption. 
I'm very low! My goal was to drink eight 12 oz. glasses of water per day. I was lucky to drink half that amount in water! I'm adding this to my new habits to build for the month—drink almost twice as much water as I have been.

I don't drink sodas—maybe only twice a year. I drink water with lemon at home and at restaurants. I seldom drink bottled juice and when I do it's 100% juice. It's so inferior to fresh juice (no enzymes) and usually contains concentrated sugars. I gave up coffee and wine back in October (health reasons) but I enjoy a decaf cup of coffee every now and then. When I visit my sister or on special occasions I'll have a few ounces of wine. My daily cappuccino went bye-bye too.

I'm conscious of the unique acid/base balance our bodies require. Too much acidity causes disease. Veggies and most fruits are alkaline and are always excellent choices. I've heard that if you drink a cola it takes about  12 cups of water to neutralize it in your body. So what happens is that you take calcium from your bones to keep the blood at the proper Ph level. Bad news indeed when that happens!

 
Drinking My Greens. 
I only missed a few days that I forgot to drink my greens in some fashion. Doing well there! Check out one of my newest drinks here:
Dandy-Lion Fruit Freeze



Protein Intake. 
l don't eat a lot of meat and I don't eat much dairy and eat no cheese at all. My goal was to eat a total of 72 grams of protein per day, but I only met that number on a few occasions and most days I seemed sufficiently low. I'm not sure I agree with that number though. For some interesting information on protein visit For This Season.

Good Fats.  
I take my supplements and I eat nuts, virgin olive oil, flax and chia seeds, small amounts of butter, and coconut. I'm adding in avocado. One reason I think I don't have many wrinkles at all is all the healthy fats I consume. (Well, genetics and not smoking plays a part too).

Exercise. 
I exercised pretty darn close to six days a week! I just started looking into T-Tapp which I read about on another blog. I ordered the book (Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes) and have been intrigued. Lose up to 2 sizes in 4 weeks? How can that not get your attention? My focus recently has been to concentrate on my flabby abs so I'm using the Dancing Abs Jazzercise DVD more, plus the T-Tapp book has a bonus DVD workout for the "secret to a flat stomach". I'll keep you posted.



Calories. 
I've been pleased with the numbers. I need to stay at 1700 calories per day or less to lose the weight I desire and meet my goal over the next year. If you deduct the fiber and calories used for fuel allotments, I've done pretty well (most days).

Blood Pressure. 
I had some of the lowest BPs I've seen in years but a few days—especially in the last week, it's been slightly high. I need to do an internal stress check. This last week I have not felt well overall. It happens. I'm used to it.

Weight. 
The first month I lost six pounds and now I've stagnated. I'm still pleased however. I have to consider that muscle weighs more than fat so I can't rely totally on the scale. My clothes fit less tight. That's good.

I see some areas that need work and I'm seeing that my future looks good if I can keep the habits and lifestyle changes going. 
God has blessed me greatly!

How are you doing at meeting your healthy goals and what new habits are you making?

Linking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday and Wellness Wednesdays 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dandy-Lion Fruit Freeze


Dandy-Lion Fruit Freeze

You may know that one of my healthy habit changes I've made since January is to "drink my greens" every day. One way to do it is by juicing, another is to add some greens powder to water or a liquid, or I can add greens to a smoothie.

I purchased two large bunches of organic dandelion greens at our local Prairie Market that were marked down, yet perfectly usable for $1.50. I juiced about 3/4 of the batch and then used the rest in this delightful drink. Deandelion greens are so good for you (see info below). I particularly LOVE smoothies that taste like frozen treats!

Ingredients:
2 oranges (segmented or sliced & cut off the rind)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
2 large handfuls of frozen cut up fruit (I used banana, strawberries, apricots) 
stevia to taste
large handful of washed and torn dandelion greens (or other greens)

Combine and blend oranges and yogurt in a high-powered blender (Vita-Mix).
Add in frozen fruit 1/3 at a time with stevia (I used about a third of a packet) and blend. 
Add dandelion greens last. Blend using the tamper tool to push greens down and accelerate blending.
 

Dandelion Greens

Why are they so good for you? In my post Pickin' My Greens to Juice I talked about dandelion greens
According to LeafLady, the health benefits  of dandelion are nothing short of miraculous. In fact, Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) means "Official Remedy for Disorders."
Taken as part of your daily diet it can:  
". . . prevent or cure liver diseases . . . purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health; assist in weight reduction; cleanse your skin and eliminate acne; improve your bowel function . . . prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent or cure anemia; lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion; prevent or cure various forms of cancer; prevent or control diabetes mellitus; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you."
Well, I know that any leafy green is going to be good for me, but in one important study, dandelions ranked in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. They are rich in beta-carotene, high in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, vitamin C, micronutrients like cpoper, zinc and boron, and are a good source of protein along with Vitamin D. No wonder it's so good for us!


Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Snack Attack - Healthy Habits Week 6

 
Should I deprive myself?

The strawberry shortcake above was last Sunday's treat. OK, the whip cream is a minor no-no (for me personally), but the strawberries are raw, and I found this gluten-free cake in the freezer and I thought it should be used! Was it a good (healthy) snack? 

Well, I did not lose weight the past week either. Though loss of weight is not my primary goal it would certainly add to my goal of better health and feeling good and looking good if I did so.

Do I have to feel deprived in order to lose weight and get healthier? 
I think not, but it may mean a few changes and a little more planning.

Healthy Habits—Week 6

One of my problems . . . Healthy Snacking (or not)

Since I was a homeschool Mom and a work-from-home Gal for many years, I lived in and around the kitchen table. You can guess what's coming . . . I had the bad habit of eating at any time. I did not know what it was like to feel hungry—ever! I was not much of a meal planner (it's a great idea however), and I'm not the frigid-rigid type who had a plan for such things.

Now that I'm back into exercising most every day, do you know what happens to me after a good workout? My stomach hints that I need food. I may start hunting and scrounging for something to tempt my taste buds. After all, I just strengthened those muscles, stretched those ligaments, and pumped and primed my heart. I drink water, and it's perhaps fine to eat a healthy snack, but what about at other times?

A satisfying snack: 
Dried Cinnamon Apples made with Granny Smiths & Fujis


There are many wonderful healthy snacks that I could, and do, eat. There are the dieter's choice of celery and carrot sticks (which are fine at times), dried apples, and a wide array of fruit, nuts (I eat too many), and vegetable choices. For those of us who eat meat and/or dairy, the choices are greater. In the vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo or raw food worlds, the concoctions people create are amazing, with healthier alternatives for just about any sweet or salty processed snack you'd normally choose to eat.

Plan for a Snack Attack!

My original plan was simply:
Limit eating between meals. 
Eat a healthy veggie/fruit snack 


This month, it's time to move. Here is my Snack Attack implementation . .


  • Plan ahead—Will you have time to stop what you are doing to whip up a snack mix, crackers, a healthy pudding, or fruit wedges? Mix up a batch on the weekend to have on hand during the week. And don't run out. Scout out recipes in your spare time (he-he).
  • Bring it with you—Don't be tempted to stop at the fast food joint or donut shop. Be sure to have something with you when you go out.
  • Content matters—What you eat does make a difference. Choose quality over crap. Read ingredients and make things from scratch. Natural high-end nutrition trumps processed foods every time!
  • Portion controlI don't have to eat an entire bowlful. Limit yourself purposefully or even measure amounts (like the cereal snack you eat out of a box or the chips in a container).
  • TimingWork out a plan for snacks and stick to it! Tame your cravings after work on weekdays and have a small snack to eat in the car before going home to fix lunch. Try yogurt and fruit, or crackers and hummus, after exercising in the afternoon. Eating popcorn on Sunday nights (family tradition) is OK but use the smaller bowl.
  • EnjoymentChoose foods and snacks you like. Enjoy what you choose. Savor it.
  • It's OK to feel hunger(or whatever that is you are feeling). Forget the idea that you must eat at the first sign of a hungry stomach. It's perfectly fine (and actually good) to not stuff your face all-the-time!



Here is a list of a variety of nutritious snacks and treats for you to try, here at Kathy's Kitchen:





I'll probably touch on this in a future post, but I have been "years" making small changes and it never stops; Getting a handle on my snacking will be adding another element to the whole. 



 
What are your favorite healthy snack ideas?

Linking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday


and Wellness Wednesdays Grab button for Wellness Wednesday

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunny Seed Snackers (Dehydrated)

Sunny Seed Snackers  

This is my stand-by cracker recipe that I like to always keep on hand—especially good with hummus! It is very similar to the Red Hot Snackers recipe. 

My husband loves the spicier version best, but they are great either way. I miss eating wheat and bread and those crunchy snacks that I shouldn't eat much of, so these are a wonderful substitute when I need a healthy snack with some fiber and substance.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw Sunflower Seeds (soaked for 4 hrs and drained)
  • 1 cup Flax Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Sesame Seeds 
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 med. Tomatoes chunked
  • 1/2 large Purple Onion chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt 
  • 2 teaspoons dried (or fresh) parsley

Directions: Combine the Sunflower Seeds and Sesame Seeds with water and soak for 4 hours. Drain. Then add 1 cup Flax Seeds and 2 cups pure water to the Sunflower Seed mixture. Let stand for 1 hour. DO NOT DRAIN. 

Processing the Mixture

 Mix with remaining ingredients, then process in a food processor (process half and then add the other half). Pour about 1/5 of mixture onto a Teflex lined dehydrator tray and spread thin with a rubber tipped spatula. Score with a knife into squares now or after they have been turned.  

 
Scored Snackers Ready to Eat

 Dehydrate till dry and crispy at 105 degrees for 6-7 hrs. and then turn them over onto the regular mesh sheets to finish drying for another 6-7 hrs. Drying time depends on the thickness. This recipe makes five full dehydrator trays full. 

Note: You could bake these in the oven, but you'd not be getting the full nutritional benefit from this recipe.

A little tasty crunch to go with my salad.
Crunch them on top of a salad, top with creamy dip, or eat plain.

I put them in freezer bags and freeze, or store in the fridge to keep them fresh and crispy.

 

Linking up with Wheat-Free Wednesday