Health Foodie: Thriving on Nutrition and a Budget

Health Foodie: Thriving on Nutrition and a Budget

This is very much a daily passion for me. Healthy food relationships should never break the bank and its is achievable. When hitting the urban jungle, make the most of your hunt for a better you and your family.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

With my littlest red in tow we set out for our biweekly marathon of food gathering in the urban jungle. For a family of six plus a dog,  it’s the only marathon I ever care to participate in. It’s not the worst chore I have to complete as my laundry piles on my dryer.  However, we do love to eat and it’s crucial to maintain our wellness. There are strategies I use to keep our wellness goals while shopping and lessen my pain in the after math

List. List. List.

I am a list freak.  Largely to help me regulate my thoughts and ADHD. But I do love them and labels. List may mean meal planning which saves money on its own. Creating a list adds further kindness to your wallet in decreasing impulse buys. When creating your list, pad in your health favs and a few not so healthy favs for those cheat days. Don’t go hungry. Your stomach will lead and mine usually sabotages my wellness and budget. Many major store apps will allow you to find most of what is in stock, on sale, and, some times, which aisle to find it in. Target will automatically link you to the store you’re in and bring up the store map in the app. Walmart App, not grocery app, now has an in store feature.

Develop a love affair

Love the stores in or near your neighborhood. Traveling too far when not necessary spends more than save. The more you go the more you will see sale patterns which leads in to three….

Shop sales and in season.

Healthy food on sale. Not junk food on sale.  Companies are starting to recognize the demand and putting natural/organic/healthy items or produce on sale more often.  This past month at one of our local stores, between sales, in season produce, and digital coupons, I cut my bill in half. We saved almost $150. Many stores have online adds that you can compare prices which saves another valuable resource of yours, time.

Use loyalty programs and digital coupons.

If I receive a paper coupon in store or the mail I will use most of the time. Otherwise all many coupons are available on a loyalty card.  Saves paper and money. Double bonus. In one particular store, the more loyalty program is used, more personal rewards. Stores may track what you buy and give back specific to past purchases. There are grocery apps that do reward just for uploading a receipt.  Use them. Some apps of these apps can be used for school fundraising. Other stores allow for schools to give a number to link your loyalty cards. In your every day purchases, your child school benefits.

Make budget from for sales.

When you have some extra budget room and sales are really good take advantage of the abundance.  If you have the room, squirrel it away as long as it won’t expire before you use it.

Take advantage of shopping clubs, online services, and pick ups.

 If you benefit from buying in bulk then a shopping club like Cosco or Sams may be worth it for you. Toilet paper is a guarantee it will be necessary always, but with perishable items be mindful. Truly buy what you would use. A kindness to your wallet and your environment. During one summer, as a foot injury necessity, we used store pick ups a lot. It’s an excellent way to keep impulse buying down and seeing potential costs. Delivery your door is becoming an option with similar benefits and convenience.

Meatless Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays….

Meat can be expensive, especially lean meat.   Lately, I am finding one of our stores putting meat substitutes crazy cheap.  We are riding that gravy train for as long as it last. We like using cauliflower as well. Bonus, cauliflower can be easily found in every form in most stores.  As a substitute, cauliflower adds nutritional value and protein content while wallet friendly. Too much meat protein can be hard on some of your organs, especially kidneys.  Just a thought to keep in mind on how many meatless days you want to try.

We have a large family, dog, and dietary needs- the need for the budget to stretch can get scary. However, with these seven solutions make magic happen. In your food gathering hunt, make the most of you and your food relationship.

Namaste in your food gathering hunt

Juls

Advertisements
A Bowl of WTH: Diet Idols and Your Diet

A Bowl of WTH: Diet Idols and Your Diet

This can become a charged discussion and topic. I am going to handle this with care and truth. Up front, I do not believe Modern Western Medicine is everything as I tend to follow eastern dietary guidelines such as Ayurveda. I do not believe in total food group eliminations or eating mostly from one group on an extended basis. You can disagree with me respectfully and your opinion has value. It’s important to address the misconceptions surrounding what we should eat or not eat, especially fad diets. Hang with me till the end.

Diet Idols

AKA as fad diets or diet trends. This isn’t completely unique to the United States but runs rampant with damage. The damage of diet trends can be your health, weight management, and body perceptions. Your health and weight management may take a toll with eliminating necessary food groups in your daily food connections and yo yo weight loss and gain. Constant weight loss and weight gain can cause stress on your heart and psyche. The reason that yo yo weight happens is extreme changes are successful for a time period and cannot be maintained. Thus completely eliminating carbs, going total protein, or high amounts of fat may be too challenging. This also puts your body function and flow into over drive or dysfunction. You need the right carbs to fuel. Too much protein can tax your kidneys and adrenal systems to the point of creating kidney stones plus more. High amounts of fat over time can create acid reflux/heart burn and heart problems. The true issue with many diets and fads are the extremes which impact you and your ability to believe in making sustaining healthy choices.

However….

These trends are not wholly bad. Low carb diets have brought to light that much of our American carb consumption has been unhealthy and too much grain carb as opposed to needing fruit and veggie carbs. So yes, you need to reduce or eliminate white, bleached wheat products and aim for whole grains. The right carbs in the right amount is what is needed. Other diets have highlighted our over involvement with sugar and needing to lower sugar consumption. Some diets push more whole food and less process foods. There are times where you may need more of a certain group of food more than another. When my iron was low, I ate mostly lean proteins and vegetables. When my reflux acted up, it was half whole grains. Right now I am balanced and my food relationship reflects that. Temporarily doing a food more over another can be necessary but rarely beneficial in being permanent. Following diets of extremes are harmful. Take changes with a grain of salt and keep balance of proteins, fats, grains, and veggie/fruit.

Your Diet Choices

You need to keep balance in mind. I have been watching so many people and health professionals in these trends. Those who find balance and keep that “rainbow” vegetable and fruit food relationship are maintaining success and health with some of these diet trends. It is possible but balance is the key. They do not take extremes. A while ago, for kicks, I took a nutrition course from an Australian university. It was enlightening with global student involvement and instruction. From this and researching other countries dietary guidelines, I learned our government guidelines compares well in understanding (USA dietary link below). It is important to keep an eye on what changes in guidelines. Old enough to remember the food pyramind? Chuck that out the window. It’s more about the lean protein and veggies, while lowering (not eliminating) grains. Plus variety. And balance. Am I repeating myself? It’s that important. If you want more specific guidelines thus choosing a diet or point plan, know this needs to be a long term or permanent change. It’s not going to work long term if you go back to what you were doing before. Take note of why something is working. More often than not, its due to removing foods that were never met to be in your daily relationship to begin with and more of the good stuff. Take note when it’s not working. It could be your body needs something different. Something medically is going on. Or mental health and/or stress needs more attention. You are not a set of systems, you are a person with a soul. Your mental care affects your body’s function and ability. Your habits for your physical lifestyle affect your mental state. It’s all connected and needs to be viewed with equal importance.

I do whole heartedly believe, within reason, it’s okay to splurge every once and while. Self participation a couple of weeks ago. Certainly, semi splurge on a once a week basis (as in one meal). The reason for once a week, one meal has little to do with weight but more with it affects in how you feel afterwards. It sucks, trust me. Going to far in splurges impacts your over all emotional and mental health quicker than physical health.

Guidelines in You Daily Food Relationship

There are health professionals who can guide and help create specific plans if you find that route enhances your success. These things you need to keep in mind when making choices

  1. Am I eliminating a necessary food group? Am I eating too much of a food group? Carbs (grains & veggies & fruits), Proteins (nuts, beans, meat, and some veggies), or Fats (unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated)- You need some kind of presence of these in your diet (also known as macros). Then as you go along, is it impacting your health negatively? I must watch my fat levels and keep it low but for others the recommended or slightly higher levels of fats are fine. Raw diets are not for everyone. It could impact your digestion. Too much protein and side pain? Get that checked out. Lower proteins or opt for more veggie based proteins.
  2. Is there appropriate portion control or can I achieve appropriate portion control? More than likely, Americans eat too much in a sitting but some diets call for too little and don’t accommodate for stepping down into appropriate portions. It’s okay to work into a life style change and it not happen immediately. Most likely small changes will lead to better success.
  3. How is my mental health? If you feel defeated and deal with self doubt then there is some soul/mental work to be done along side your diet changes. A counselor, wellness coach, life coach, spiritual coach, or trusted friend needs to be a part of your plan. Success in your food relationship is not wholly dependent on what you put or don’t put in your mouth. Its part mind set too. I love Louise Hay books and Mirror work she describes. EFT tapping is amazing (Tapping Solution, Donna Eden). These are two things you can invest in easily and right now. Additionally, don’t compare yourself to others. The steps you make are yours and they count. Baby steps are still steps. Concentrate on you then celebrate with others.

This is all to inform and caution you for your health and best success. No judgement on what you decided to do. With the exception, DO NOT go to the extreme unless a medical professional states it is necessary for you and you are being monitored. I cannot understate how important balance is.

Namaste in Your Food Relationship

JRiley

Here is the current link for American Government Health Agency guidelines (2015-2020) https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/.  

Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health- ScienceDaily

Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health- ScienceDaily

This is something to take into consideration. Not all carbs are equal and lot are essential to your total body function. I am not promoting at diet or radical changes. Simply, not to take on extreme diets and cut out carbs completely. Oats ,rice, and veggies are a beautiful thing. 🌾🥕🥦🍆🍚

Excerpt and link-

A new study has found that diets both low and high in carbohydrates were linked with an increase in mortality, while moderate consumers of carbohydrates had the lowest risk of mortality. The study also found that low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources were associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
— Read on www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180817093812.htm

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Spicy foods and I have had a long time love affair in our food relationship.  It seems that now we are at least on a separation if not headed for limited contact relationship.  Our relationship literally burns my heart, among other things.  Heart burn, acid reflux, and bile reflux are serious conditions that do more than irritate.  Due to high acid production, it can erode your digestive system from mouth to intestines.  It can be painful and may even cause esophageal spasms.  Not being able to use your esophagus sucks at the very least and scary at times.  To find balance in your food relationship, you need pH balance- acid vs alkaline.  This doesn’t mean acidic food are bad all together, many have amazing nutritional value and for some people, acidity is needed.  For us fiery, acidic bellies- we need to tone it down and tailor our relationship.

It’s starts with “we’re on a break.” For some time or all the time or on a limited basis you need to quit these foods: caffeine, citrus fruits, cocoa beans (coffee/chocolate), tomatoes, spicy, hot temps, high fats, processed, fried foods.  A relationship with a medical professional may help you decide what that relationship will look like.  These foods are either high in acid or cause more stomach acid production.  If you are extra sensitive then avoiding most fruits, gluten, dairy, and onions may be of benefit.

So now what do I eat?  I truly did have a spicy food addiction.  In treating and making new relationship routines I have become a humongous fan of oats.  I like oats before, but it’s a whole new love now.  Oats are excellent for regulating blood sugar among many things but for the sake of stomach acid- it absorbs acid and helps regulate the guts.  Every morning I have oatmeal with raw honey and sliced bananas.  Every. Freaking. Morning.  Raw honey, it HAS to be raw, has amazing healing properties and bananas are on the helpful with the acid list.  Ginger in tea or added to a meal is another pH balancing friend.  Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha will tip the pH scale in your favor.  And veggies.  Veggies are alkaline which is the yin to acid’s yang so to speak, especially those greens and carrots.  Avocados, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, tofu, amaranth, and legumes are other alkaline options for daily contacts in your food relationship.

Love red sauces.  Me too! What do I do with tomato based sauces to combat acidity? Carrots.  These handy veggies in a puree aid in leveling out tomato’s acidity.  Cooking time is important too.  It need to be limited and I do not cook my sauces over thirty minutes.  More cook time, more acid.  Spices and herbs can contribute to raising the pH level.  An example is enchilada sauce.  I either eliminate the chili powder completely or reduce it, the up the cumin by half more.  This can be applied to any enchilada sauce recipe or pin you see.  Below I have included how I make my carrot puree plus a recipe for a reduced acid pasta sauce.  The carrot thing really does work.

Carrot Puree

2 carrots peeled and diced in 1 cup of water.  Cook until soft and blend or food processor until smooth.  You can double to make extra to store or freeze for later use.

Reduced Acid Pasta Sauce

  • 2 ( 29 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of carrot puree
  • 2 bay leaves (cue 90’s kid in school lunchroom memories)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

img_1285.jpg

Cooking: measure it, dump it, stir it, and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

You can cook longer if you can stand higher acidity.  TBH- I love longer cooked sauces; however, they are not loving me back at the moment.  Care for your gut as it cares for the rest of you.

Please like share or pass along!

Namaste

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

Summer time is our busiest; however, for many this is the reverse when school starts.  To keep that amazing gut feeling in your food life we have a couple of recipes to add to the food relationship.   These recipes at substance, healing power necessary to sustain you, but not weigh you down either.   I find veggies and herbs are an excellent way to get the nourishment without a heavy gut discussion afterwards. These recipes of my favs in the food relationship, nourishes well and not complicated.

Mediterranean Inspired Pasta Dish- aka “I’m obsessed with olives and herbs”

Feed approximately 4 people

Ingredients

  • Pasta or “Pasta”: (pictured) g-free linguine or zoodles, linguine, fresh pasta, etc.  12 oz pasta or 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves: 3 cloves, diced
  • Fresh parsley: about 1/2 cup chopped (optional add in dried parsley 2 tbsp)
  • Green olives: 1/2 cup diced
  • Roma tomatoes, 3 diced
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cooking

  1. For packaged pasta cooked as directed and set aside.  For zoodles, saute in 2 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes or soft and firm.
  2. In a skillet pour in olive oil, garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, green olives (if using dried parley add here) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta or “pasta” and fresh parsley.  Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. Plate and mix in parmesan cheese in preferred amounts (I love cheese, no judgement from me)

Pasta and veggies are a favorite combo but I love tzatziki like none other, that with grilled veggies and flat bread, it’s an upbeat gut feeling.

Grilled veggies with Rosemary Flat Bread, Tzatziki Sauced

Feeds 4-5 people

Minus picky veggie eaters

Ingredients

Rosemary Flat Bread

  • Gluten free all purpose or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour (g free),  all purpose flour (for g)
  • Dried Rosemary  2 tbsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves diced
  • 1 egg
  • Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Cooking flat Bread

  1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Mix dried ingredients first (flour, rosemary, baking powder, garlic)
  3. Stir in egg and milk
  4. Slowly pour half the water in to mix.  Each flour is different and some absorb water more that others.  As you mix, slowly add in the rest of the water.  Stop when the ingredients are mixed well but the dough isn’t sticky.  If it does’t become sticky, add a touch more flour.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet (it can be placed on a baking stone with no oil)
  6. Take a 1/2 cup size portion, roll into a ball and press flat.  All of this can be done with your hands.  No other tools required.
  7. Bake flat bread for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Just the Basics Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • plain Greek yogurt 5 oz
  • Dill, dried  1 tsp
  • lemon juice 1 12 tsp

Cooking

  1.  Mix all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

“Grilled” Veggies

Ingredient

  • Zucchini  2, sliced long ways
  • Yellow squash 2, sliced long ways
  • Tomatoes on the vine 4, cut into quarters
  • Mushrooms 8 oz
  • Fresh oregano  1/2 cup chopped
  • Fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • Optional addtions: olives (yes plz), red onion, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots

Cooking

There are two options here.  Throw it on the grill or bake.  Since our grill is O-3 (out of order) these directions are for baked.  I know the ultra professional tip is to give temperatures but if I’m honest-  I forget half the time (ADHD). Much of our relationships don’t have measuring tools, cooking veggies can be one of those instances.

  1. Oven preheated to 375ºF
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet then lay out veggies on baking sheet(s).  Zucchini and squash cook the fastest, place them together.  Place tomatoes and mushrooms together as well.
  3. Sprinkle chopped oregano and parsley over veggies.
  4. Put in tomatoes and mushrooms first.  They need a good 15 minute head start.
  5. After 15 minutes place zucchini and squash. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Check veggies to make sure they are soft but firm to touch with a fork.  Or knife. Please don’t use your fingers.  Trust me.

Now.

Throw it all together in any combo you like.

Cooked veggies are easy to digest.  With herbs, vegetables reduce inflammation from gut to brain.  Grain sustains and adds fuel.  It’s a food relationship to satisfy and provide great gut feelings.  Come back next week for simple ways to deal with the aches and “pains in the neck.”  Subscribe and then your tools for an exceptional life comes to you. 🥘💌

Namaste 🥙🥐🍽

P.S. I am not a fan of spam- the “meat” or email.  Pinky-promise for only the good stuff- no email, app, or phone invasions.

Aside

Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey