Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What NOT to Put in your Grocery Cart

Dr. Oz and many others in the health field recommend avoiding the following 5 types of food to improve your health.

#1 Avoid simple carbs, a.k.a sugars
This includes donuts, pies, ice cream, candy....you get the point! Simple carbs increase your blood sugar, one moment you are full of energy and sooner than you know it, you've dropped and you're ready for a nap.

#2 Avoid meats high in nitrates and saturated fats
Studies have found nitrates linked to stomach cancer and other degenerative illnesses. Unhealthy saturated fats end up on your rear end! Choose turkey and chicken, both are high in protein and minerals. Find lunch meat such as Boar's Head that do not add nitrates.

#3 Avoid foods high in sodium
The recommended amount of daily sodium is 2300 mg. for an adult, an average of 1 tsp. Sodium is bad for your blood pressure and arteries. Use herbs to flavor your meals instead!

#4 Avoid fake healthy foods
Marketeers try to con us into thinking a cookie can actually be good for us when they use the words 'low fat' or 'all natural' but usually these foods are high in sugar. You end up eating them and still feel hungry!

#5 Avoid products that have ingredients that you can't pronounce
If you need a chemistry degree to read the label, it can't be good for you.
Products that contain five ingredients or less is a good rule to use when buying packaged food.

How Dirty is Your Produce?

With the cost of organic produce sometimes costing 2 to 3 times more than conventional produce what influences your decision to buy organic or conventional? Most of us would choose not to eat foods laden with chemicals, but our pocketbooks don't allot for this. Should only the wealthy be able to afford chemical-free produce? Of course not! The Environmental Working Group compiles a handy list to help consumers make choices that are both good for their health and their pocketbook. Here's what they recommend:

The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce you want to buy organically; it carries the highest pesticide load

1. Peaches 2. Apples 3. Sweet Bell Peppers 4. Celery 5. Nectarines 6. Strawberries 7. Cherries
8. Pears 9. Kale 10. lettuce 11. Imported Grapes 12. Carrots

The Clean Fifteen is a list of produce you can safely buy conventionally; it carries the lowest pesticide load

1. Sweet Potatoes 2.Tomatoes 3. Broccoli 4. Watermelon 5. Papayas 6. Eggplant 7. Cabbage 8. Kiwi 9. Peas 10. Asparagus 11. Mangoes 12. Pineapples 13. Frozen Sweet Corn 14. Avocados 15. Onions

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sips of Coffee

Fair Trade, shade grown, organic, conventional, sustainable, decaf or regular.
Lot's of choices surround the amazing coffee bean that more than 50% of Americans drink on a daily basis. What do they mean?
Let's take a more in-depth look at what you should know before taking your next sip.
  • Fair Trade is where people in developing countries are paid a fair wage for sustainable farming practices.
  • Shade grown is what it sounds like, coffee beans grown in the shade. Cultivating this way increases biodiversification and reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Since it takes longer for coffee to grow in the shade, the overall acidity is reduced due to increased sugars caused by slow growth. Tastes yummy!
  • Organic is where neither pesticides or herbicides were used to grow the beans, making your cup of Joe chemical-free.
  • Conventional coffee is coffee grown in the full-sun and the majority of commercialized coffee is grown this way. Folgers, Maxwell House or any other producer that doesn't use organic practices falls into this category. Due to the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, production is quicker and much higher allwoing for cheaper prices to be passed onto the consumer. Remember, cheaper is not always better!
  • Sustainable is where the farmers use minimal amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, conserve resources and protect the environment.
  • Decaffeinated coffee can be appreciated by some who enjoy the taste of coffee, but can't take the caffeine high. Just remember there is a bit of caffeine in every decaf, but only about 1/40th of the amount found in a regular cup of Joe. Just be sure that if you drink decaf you choose a coffee that was decaffeinated using the Swiss water process. This is where water, rather than solvents, is used to remove the caffeine from the beans, leaving you with a chemical-free decaf.
Phew! A lot to consider before buying your next pound of coffee, huh? If we make choices that are beneficial to ourselves, the environment and the farmers,our pocket books may be a bit slimmer, but the overall positive impact we have on our planet is worth it!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Undercover Green Smoothie

I'm always on the lookout for yummy, healthy drinks I can introduce to the kids in hopes that they'll eventually enjoy drinking a green smoothie. I met the Green Smoothie Girl in person and tried one of her sample drinks and was pretty much sold on the whole idea. She has revamped her family's nutrition with these drinks. I already owned a Vita-Mix blender and was ready to go to town. The amount of available nutrition in one of these smoothies is incredible. The greens load you up on calcium and the lemon rind provides lots of phytonutrients. The sweetener, agave nectar, has a low glycemic rate, meaning it wont spike your blood sugar and there are recipes to please everyone in your family. They won't even know they're drinking spinach, kale or dandelion greens. I haven't made it passed the spinach and lettuce greens with my family, yet. I was also informed by my 16-year-old that if it were served in a colored glass to hide the green liquid color sedated by fruits I might actually get the 6 and 8 year old's to drink it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Non -Toxic Cleaning Product-

As I have removed chemical cleaning products from our day-to-day life, I have found that when my children and I are exposed to chemical cleaners, we do not respond favorably.
We could be walking down the cleaning product aisle at Target and all of a sudden our throats become irritated and our eyes get red, hence the sensitivity. I could walk in some one's home and get a headache from the cleaning products they use. Boy am I grateful we don't have that in our home environment. One of the services that I offer are green home consultations to help others change over to non-toxic home cleaners. Over time I have found non-toxic cleaning products that are both family and environmentally friendly. We support Seventh Generation products because they list ALL ingredients on their label, you don't see this often. You can find Seventh Generation at most stores, making it easily available. Gone are the days when you could only find health-conscious products at neighborhood health food stores!