Healthy Eating on a Budget: Eating from Home

Healthy Eating on a Budget: Eating from Home

This is very much a daily passion for me. As a Holistic Health Practitioner, I understand the importance of a healthy food relationship and one that doesn’t break the bank. We have a family of six plus a furry member that are whole foodies. Yes, our dog is a whole foodie. This is how we make the most of our budget and food relationships.

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Healthy Eating On a Budget

  1. Plan Ahead and List
    1. Helps keep focus and reduce impulse buys
  2. Use Apps: Many major stores have apps that offer these benefits:
    1. Make use of loyalty programs
    2. Watch sales
    3. Digital coupons
    4. Making lists and where to find them
  3. Go Whole Foods and Seasonal
  4. Watch for greatly reduced items or clearance for meals that can be prepared in the next day or so
  5. Develop a love affair with your locals
  6. Take advantage of pick ups to avoid impulse shopping
  7. Go vegetarian more
    1. meat costs more! whole fruit and veggies offer more for your budget.
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Find more health in your food relationships with kindness to your wallet.

J.Riley

Holistic Health Practitioner

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No Salt Added- Herbs and Spices Basics

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Let’s just be real honest. Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me. 

Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer and other diseases.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

Herbs and Spices: The Basics to Your Food Relationship

There are some things you need to know. 

  • Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety. 
  • Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended. 
  • Spices can be whole or ground. 
  • Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Herbs & Spices

Now what?

Got you. These herbs and spices are great for staples to any recipe, but they are great additions to many food relationship encounters

holistic eating habits

JRiley

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Food Relationship: What You can Eat to Hydrate

It’s 3:00 PM in the afternoon and I look down at my water bottle. The day is almost done and I’ve only drank half the my minimal of what is needed to be hydrated. Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t count. Why on earth would I add hydration count to my endless daily check-list? From brain function, gut function, adrenal function- hydration is the everything in biological function.

How much water should you drink? National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine   gives guidelines on the minimal fluids you should take daily. According to the site, I need to take in around twelve eight ounces per day, water as a safety blanket it is!! Some conditions require more fluid intake such as activity and heat,  Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention outlines other reasons.  Know and watch your fluid intake.

What about what you drink?  There are drinks you need to limit or completely avoid.  Sugary drinks such as juices and sodas needs to be limited.  This goes for caffeine and alcohol too. It is thought that caffeine intake can cause dehydration, a quick run through studies on coffee. Mild coffee drinking is fine and not known to impact hydration ability.   Sugar and too much sodium are the top dehydrators you can drink.

What Should You Drink?

  • Water
  • Green Tea
  • Herbal Teas
  • Non synthetic dye or natural drink
  • Water with fruit and vegetables

Your food life is two fold on hydration.  Drinking is the primary way to obtain and maintain hydration. However, eating certain whole foods (not cooked or lightly cooked) contains significant portions of water in them.

What Can You Eat to Boost Hydration?

All of these contain at least 90% of water and tons of nutrition. Food relationship multitasking at its best.

  • Canteloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

The Exceptions

Broccoli and squash contain more water when cooked.

sliced fruits on tray
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Sports drinks are known to help with hydration and keeping hydration in short periods.  They should only be consumed when significant water loss is involved or recommended by doctor. The main reason are electrolytes.  In a simplistic term, electrolytes are salts in the form of minerals that help with hydration and cleanse your bodily systems.  The electrolytes you need are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, phosphates.  You can eat these easily all the time.

Foods Rich in Electrolytes

  • White beans
  • Dairy- yogurt/ kefir particularly
  • Fish- especially salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and walnuts
  • Dark greens- notably kale, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, spinach, chard
  • Tofu
  • Baked goods with baking soda
  • Fruids: Bananas, water melons,
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut water
  • Tomato
  • Egg plant

Each of these foods offer it’s unique contribution.  A rotation/combination of each offers the best impact in your food relationship. I am going to grab more of my lemon & lime water. Gotta catch up!

Namaste and be fluid

Juls

close up photography of eyeglasses on pineapple
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Health Foodie: Quick & Healthy Meal Ideas

Health Foodie: Quick & Healthy Meal Ideas

I haven’t put out a recipe in a long time. Not from cooking slack, but more from needing quick meal ideas that improve health with minimal effort. What do you when life is insanely busy, need a quick meal, and please dear God, I need less salad in my life? K.I.S.S. it. The K.I.S.S (keep is simple silly/stupid) method has ruled in this household for months. Looks like it’s going to be for a couple more. In the craze, I don’t want to lose what fuels us and our minds in nutrition, but we can’t sacrifice sanity. This is part of my cheat list of quick meals. Some are grab and go while others take a bit of prep and cooking. Only two salads made the list ’cause we need a break. Real nutrition is in all of it.

Quick Healthy Meals:

Run In Store & Grab Ideas

  1. Veggie burger with fruit. Watch those healthy options. Many put gluten in and it’s more filler than nutrition. We opt for a burger with portabellos and veggies or use portabellos period.
  2. Rotisserie or baked chicken with grab a veggie tray or salad kit
  3. Baked beans and green beans or greens
  4. Cauliflower crust (pre-made) with pizza sauce, cheese, and veggies

A Little More Investment Meal Ideas

This downloadable comes with several healthy meal ideas centered around “latin” flavors. This is our family’s obsession and 90% crowd pleaser. When meals have common ingredients it requires less planning and easier meal creations.

Healthy meals can be a valuable time investment of food relationship and mental wind down time. When there isn’t time or priorities bump cooking down the list, we don’t have to sacrifice wellness. Veggie forward, whole foods, whole grains are literal life savers from brain function to heart love. This makes healthy meals even more vital. Love the long and short of your food relationship. More quick and healthy meal ideas to come of different flavor varieties. Follow by clicking “Yes” to have them delivered to you.

J.Riley

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Food Allergies Hidden in House Hold Products

Having any food allergy, from the Top 8 and beyond, leads to a challenging life style. The foodie with allergy life requires constant label and food investigations and awkward questions at gatherings. It comes with additional risks when someone or a company isn’t honest. Thankfully, organizations like F.A.R.E. (Food Allergy Research and Education) make information and advocating needs easier. Companies labels are improving, especially with allergens on the ingredient list and the GF (gluten free label). Allergies are not confined to the food aisles and this is not as well know. They lurk everywhere. Only one Federal law protects the top eight food allergies and it only deals with food labels. Otherwise, if you clean with it,  take a prescription, take an OTC, put it on your skin, has a kosher label, or more then a company is not obligated to tell you when an allergen may be in their product. Take this short list of products with the Top 8 allergens and quick tips for foodie allergy “but it’s not a food.”

What Are the Top 8 Allergens?

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanuts
  4. Tree Nuts
  5. Fish
  6. Shellfish
  7. Soy
  8. Wheat

This is the short list and more allergies exists. The Top 8 Allergy list was created from the most common known food allergies. However, if you suspect an allergy or intolerance, get tested. There are companies now that test a wide range of allergies and intolerances.

Products with Top 8 Allergens You Might Not Know About

  • Playdough: wheat
  • Marzipan: almonds
  • Worcestershire: fish
  • Some vaccinations like Flu Shot: eggs
  • Supplements: some contain shellfish or fish
  • Milk body wash or hand soap: lactic acid or milk proteins
  • Lotions: some contain almonds
  • Exfoliating products: walnuts or nuts
  • Lip balm and lip glosses: possible fish oils

Please always read labels on household products as they are not required to have a warning label.  We learned this the hard way with lotion containing almonds and hand wash with casein (milk protein).  It was right on the ingredient label and we just didn’t think. Have you read their labels? I decided not to become a chemist for a reason.  However, learn the chemical names of your allergies. Example of milk: lactic acid, casein, caseinate are all various components of milk. Always check. 

Be extra cautious and listen to your body’s reactions as allergens are not always on a label either.  After taking on the GF life, I was still reacting as though I was still eating gluten.  I was informed that it may be my laundry detergent. They were right.  Water and flour are suspected added as fillers in many products, but with no confirmed proof. I had to go with the welts, hives and suspicions. We switched to a recommended natural product and the reactions stopped.  Along with the laundry switch, we changed cleaning products to due a reading/investigation about peanut oils in cleaning products. I like my house clean but don’t want to put my sons life at risk.  Being mindful of symptoms and habits is your best weapon against continuous reactions or deadly ones. Take all out all products for a couple of weeks then add in former products one at a time. It takes two weeks, at least, to work out an allergy. Spread out re-introduced products days apart. It might take time to react again if that was the culprit.

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Foodie with allergies or not, being savvy with allergens is a part of being well. Knowing one is safe contributes to their well in being relaxed and to your well of positive input. Caring for others always comes back in one form or another. When we can navigate and trust our environment, it enhances quality of life. Be informed, ask questions, and share information. Share this post if it makes it easier

J.Riley

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!

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