September 9, 2013

Peachy Pancakes with Fresh Peach Sauce

September 9, 2013

Peachy Pancakes title

Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:30 like always do to the sound of my iphone alarm clock and my personalized message to myself: “Make a Healthy Breakfast”

It was raining outside, which rarely happens in the deserts of Arizona and I wanted to cook something warm. My first thoughts were cinnamon rolls and peach cobbler. mmmm. But cinnamon rolls take For-Ever to make and peach cobbler isn’t much quicker, and neither of these qualified as a very healthy breakfast.

My fam really loves pancakes and I make them so often that it’s become a quick-and-easy breakfast at our house. So I made up a perfect healthy recipe for a rainy morning that tastes almost as scrumptious as peach cobbler.

 

Did you know that Nectarines are just like peaches, they just don’t have the thick fuzzy skin. So if you use Nectarines in this recipe you don’t have to peel them. You don’t have to peel the peaches either but I think it would be better without the skin in your pancakes.

Peachy Pancakes 1Peachy Pancakes 0

   Peach SaucePeachy Pancakes 2 

 

Peachy Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour (Use fresh ground flour if it is available.)

1/4 C Dehydrated Cane Juice (Coconut sugar or even white sugar will work as well.)

2 tsp Aluminum-Free Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Sea salt

2 Eggs, beaten

1 1/2 C Milk (or substitute coconut or almond milk)

1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted

1 large Peach or Nectarine, chopped into small pieces

 

Instructions:

1. Mix dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt

2. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and milk together. As you whisk the mixture, pour in the coconut oil and mix well.

3. Immediately pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined. If you wait too long the coconut oil will separate and harden and it will be very hard to mix in. Meted butter is a good substitute for coconut oil if you don’t have it on hand.

4. Fold in Peaches or Nectarines.

5. Cook pancakes on a skillet over medium-low heat, turning when bubbles form around the edges.

Serve hot.

 

 

Fresh Peach Sauce

Ingredients:

2 Peaches or Nectarines, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 Water (you can add more water if you like a thinner consistency)

3-4 Tablespoons Dehydrated Cane Juice (or sweetener of choice. Honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, etc.)

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

 

Instructions:

1. Chop peaches and place in a blender or food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

3. Pour over pancakes.

4. Enjoy!

The sauce needs to be used right away. It will separate if it sits too long. I want to try a cooked version of this recipe to see if it will hold up for a longer period of time. Then I could refrigerate it and use it all week. I’ll let you know when I try it out! I am a big fan of feeding my family raw fruits and veggies when possible so I love the raw version.

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April 1, 2013

What is “Processed Food” and why is it so bad?

April 1, 2013

A buzz word going around right now in the food world is “processed”. We all have heard to avoid processed foods if we want to be healthy. The ideal diet according to mainstream sources is a diet that is high in fruits, veggies, good fats, and whole grains and low in processed foods.

Now for the million-dollar-question: What is processed food?

What pops into your head?

 

I asked my husband this and he came up with things like:

Spam,

White flour bread,

Biscuits in a tube,

Cheese singles in plastic wrapping,

Donuts

 

Processing goes way beyond these pseudo-foods to things that you wouldn’t have even associated with the word “processed”.

Any product that goes through any type of process is technically a processed food. Unless you are eating a diet of only whole, raw foods you are eating processed foods.  Common sense, right? That means that anything boiled, fried, cooked, homogenized, preserved, baked, ground, dried, soaked, etc. 

So my husband says “Basically you are telling me that everything is processed” ( insert angry husband face here.)

And I said,  “uh . . .  yeah, . . . I guess your are right. Unless it is fresh and raw it has gone through some type of processing.”

Then I realized that there really aren’t any guidelines when it comes to the “no processed foods” rule, so how do you know what to eat?

Some of these processes don’t damage the nutrition at all, some can actually make your food more nutritious or easier to digest, (like soaking and sprouting),  and others can turn healthy food into nutritionless lumps. Those lumps of pseudo-food are the ones we want to avoid. Like the ones listed above.

A much better way to go about the whole “no processed foods” idea is going with the idea of less processing=better.

Think of it this way: A green bean grows in the garden, soaking nutrients from the soil and miraculously turning energy from the sun into food. It is growing, thriving,  and full of life! Then you pick the green bean, wash it, and it is ready to be eaten. All of that life and energy is still inside that little bean package. Eaten raw the bean is full of vitamins and minerals from the garden, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria. Or you can cook them (process them) lightly and still get almost all of the vitamins and minerals but you miss out on the enzymes and bacteria. Or, if you are a home canner or if you buy your green beans in cans at the grocery store, the green beans will be pressure boiled (to kill off any pathogens) in an aluminum can lined with plastic or a glass jar with plenty of added salt. This is a major process that depletes the green beans of much of their vitamins and minerals, and completely kills off any beneficial bacteria and enzymes. What you have left looks kind of like a green bean but the life and energy have been boiled out of it and it is nothing like the living bean that grew in your garden. And the canned green bean needs the salt to enhance the flavor because most of the fresh, crisp, sweet flavor of the bean has been boiled away.

Now think about the processes that milk has to go through to become the block of processed cheese that never molds, or that box of “whole grain” cereal that looks nothing like the original grains it came from. Most processed foods contain preservatives to help keep some of the flavor so they don’t taste like cardboard, and food coloring so they look fresh and bright, and to get you to buy them they add vitamins and minerals back into them artificially. These vitamins aren’t the same as what you would get naturally and they only add the ones that will look good on the package label.  Always check your labels on anything that you are buying from a can, box, tube, or bottle. If there is anything on the label that you can’t pronounce or you have no idea what it is, DON’T EAT IT!

If it needs to be enhanced with MSG, food coloring, or preservatives then it has gone through enough processing that it doesn’t naturally taste like real food without all of the nasty additives. There is so much research popping up about food additives contributing to everything from Hyperactivity to Cancer.

This is especially important for kids! They are much more sensitive to the effects of food additives. HERE is a whole list of articles on the effect of artificial food dyes.

If you have a child who is sensitive, hyperactive, overweight or obese, or having trouble concentrating in school or at home, I think it would be a good idea to start with removing processed foods with any type of additives, especially food coloring. I am not a doctor but I know from mommy experience and research that my kids are more focused and less hyperactive when I am diligent in keeping the processed foods out of our home.

I have one son who is 4 and although he has never been diagnosed with any neuro disorder he is extremely sensitive to his surroundings. He tends to cry and whine much more often than my other 2 kids and he has a hard time watching anything even remotely “scary” on TV. He hates to watch Curious George because there are some parts in it that scare him enough that he will hide his head in the couch and whine and then run to his bedroom.  When I make it a priority to keep him off of processed food and any artificial food coloring he is so much more calm and relaxed. I still limit TV time for all of my kids but when he is eating a nutritious diet with no additives he can handle his favorite shows and even Curious George much better.

Turn your cans, boxes, bottles, and tubes around and see what you are REALLY eating for lunch today. If there is no label, that’s even better.  Keep it as fresh as possible  :)

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January 9, 2013

The Secret to Get Your Family to Eat Healthy

January 9, 2013

This is it! The big secret is revealed! How to get your family to accept the fact that they can’t survive anymore on Mickey D’s, fish crackers, Coke, and frozen pizzas. pizza

Are you ready for it?

The secret is. . .

Patience.

 

What, were you expecting a miracle?

Remember your mom teaching you that if you want something great you have to work for it? That rule most definitely applies here too. You may want to go all crazy and dump every last bit of junk food in the house (believe me, I’ve actually done this a few times) but that doesn’t mean that your family is going to be there helping you haul the loot out to the garbage bin. Prepare them by telling them how much you care about them and how you want them to be healthy and happy and to live forever. My kids know that when I give them healthy food I am trying to keep them from getting sick too.

Take baby steps in the right direction and be consistent. If you decide that you are going to clear your house of sugar you can still allow the kids to have a sweet treat occasionally.  I am constantly reminding my kids that we have to limit our sugar because sugar is bad for our immune system so when we eat lots of sugar we are more likely to get sick. I still allow them ice cream on special occasions, and a bit of candy when we celebrate holidays, and I love to bake so I occasionally whip up batches of brownies or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, using the best ingredients within my budget.

This is New Years resolution time and millions of people make a resolution to “get healthy”. Only 8% actually follow through with this. Why? because “get healthy” is so utterly vague that no one can even wrap their brain around it. So let’s start with a real goal.

My goal for 2013: Eat fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats and proteins, increase probiotics, limit sugars and processed foods,  and work out 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

Now that is a goal I can take to the grocery store and gym and make it work!

I am 15 weeks pregnant right now and I am still riding the morning sickness train. Food hasn’t been my friend and I have been eating whatever sounded good, even Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, delivery pizza,  and sour gummy bears (not together). So just like you I am resolving to eat healthy this year for me and my baby.

 

Let’s start out with some tips on how to help our kids to eat a little healthier.

Tip #1: If your kids come home from school and go straight to the kitchen for juice and crackers I recommend keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter so they see that colorful rainbow first. My boys LOVE fresh apples and oranges so I leave them out where they can see their bright colors flash as soon as they walk in the room. Works like a charm.

Tip #2: Keep unhealthy snacks up high or hidden away in a cupboard (or get rid of them altogether). Out of sight, out of mind.

Tip#3: Try something new. A new fruit or veggie, or even a new way to cook a veggie that they already like. And don’t be discouraged if they don’t take to a new food right away. It can take more than 10 times of trying a new food before they will learn to like it. I’m still trying to get my oldest to eat cucumbers.

Tip#4: If you do make a treat make it with the best ingredients you can get. I have revamped a yummy brownie recipe and our favorite cookie recipe by substituting whole wheat flour, dehydrated cane juice, and dark chocolate chips. They are still high in sugar and need to be eaten in moderation but they are much more nourishing than the original recipes and they taste just as good. (The recipes will be in a later post.) My kids would never know the difference. Check Pinterest for pages and pages of healthy desserts.

Tip #5: Don’t bring it in the house unless you want them to eat it. Kids are scavengers. When they are hungry they will find it. And if you don’t want them to eat it you probably shouldn’t be eating it either.

Tip #6: MOST IMPORTANTLY: Please lay off the soda and sugar laden drinks. This includes diet soda/drinks too. Studies have proved that artificial sweeteners don’t help at all with weight loss and actually make you crave more sugar and more calories. Juice is on this list too. I allow my boys a small amount of 100% juice on occasion but the fructose amounts are really high. Soda is completely void of nutrition and the high fructose corn syrup or sugar can do more than make us chubby, it can damage our liver just as badly as alcohol (see this video at Mercola.com), and make it difficult to concentrate and think at higher levels. Am I saying that sugar can make you stupid? YES!  I know how addictive these sugar drinks can be. I’ve been there and I still have days that I give in and drink a cold Dr. Pepper. The difference is that now I know that damage that can be done and one can is enough (or way more than enough) for me.

Did you know that Sugary drinks are the #1 source of calories in America? Think about it. There is no nutritional content and that is our #1 energy source. No wonder Americans are getting fat, popping anti-depressants, and dying of cancer and heart disease. Scary.

Tip #7: Don’t just feed, NOURISH. Read your labels and know what you are giving your children. Quality over quantity. If your children are eating nourishing foods they won’t be rummaging through the fridge every hour. Focus on fresh fruits and veggies, protein, healthy fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter, nuts, beans and lentils, and probiotic foods.

 

It know that is a lot to start out with but if you can just start with one baby step at a time pretty soon your family will be feeling better, enjoying life more, and will be able to manage their weight much better too. All it takes is patience.

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January 7, 2013

Me + Food = Love. Why I am a “foodie”

January 7, 2013

Before I start jumping into “you should eat this” and “you shouldn’t eat that” I want to give you a little background on why I care so much about food.

Once upon a time I lived in a small town with my mom and dad and 6 siblings. Every year my mom and dad grew gardens full of fresh veggies to feed all the hungry mouths. I learned early that fresh fruits and veggies are more than just food. They were grown and cooked with love.

Years later, I get to be the mom and I didn’t inherit my dad’s green thumb so I rely heavily on grocery store produce and friends and neighbors' gardens.  (I do have a small garden that I desperately try to keep alive every year.)

I fell in love with food gradually. I have never been on a fad diet, been more than a 10 pounds overweight, or had any medical condition that required a special diet. My love for food started in college when I took my first Nutrition course. My teacher who was about 50 years old was so beautiful and radiant and looked no older than 35. Her skin and hair were practically glowing with health.  I would watch how her eyes sparkled as she taught us the most important role of nutrition: not to help us lose weight, attract the opposite sex, increase energy, or any other tag line you see on a magazine cover.

Nutrition is to help us PREVENT CHRONIC DISEASE!

(light bulb)

This idea changed how I looked at everything I ate. “Will this cheeseburger give me cancer? Will whole milk give me heart disease? Will gummy bears give me diabetes? Which vegetables have the most disease fighting power?” And most importantly I started reading the labels on everything I ate.  I had power over the unknown!

The “normal” diet in America (also called the Western Diet) is made up of

what is quick-and-easy and can be stored for a long time. Everything is packed with preservatives and processed until it is unrecognizable so that it has a 2+ year shelf life. White flour, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, yada yada yada.  By now most of us have heard a million times what the “bad foods” are.

 

So here is my theory about food.

Food = Life

Ok, completely obvious right? Everyone needs food to live.

But it is more than that. Live food = Life 

We need to make sure there is still life in our food so that it can give us life (and I’m not talking sushi and steak tartar here.) I mean, you are what you eat, right?

When we buy a can of green beans from the shelf at the store we think we are getting the same thing we get from the garden. When we process beans we break down some of the important nutrients like fiber, vitamin C,and Vitamin A. And even more importantly we lose the digestive enzymes that are only in raw foods. Some nutrition is still there but it loses a lot of it’s “life” .

After this epiphany about live foods I started eating up books from the library about fad diets and not-so-fad diets. I searched through all of the hype and fluff and found what works best for me and my family.

Nutrition is a fast evolving field that is always changing. I read and study as much as I can and I use what I believe to be true when I feed my family. I have one especially sensitive son who I know needs special dietary attention and I do my best to keep my picky little boy well nourished and it is not easy at all.

I am excited to start talking more about my passion for good food! This doesn’t mean I am a five star cook or that I am going to be passing out award winning recipes (if I could only be so lucky). It just means that I want to help you to help your family be healthy! I believe that we can tackle childhood obesity and chronic disease one home at a time!!!!!

Healthy food is the best food you will ever eat. It will feed your body, mind, and soul.

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