Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade taco seasoning

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

BBQ Chicken Salad

 

BBQ chicken salad

 
Mixed greens, including kale
Shredded chicken with low sugar BBQ sauce
Green onion
Black beans
Cilantro
Avocado

Tips on How to Afford Healthy Whole Foods

foodinc_organic

One of the biggest complaints of eating whole food that actually benefit your health is the price. Good food might be expensive, but have you checked out the price of illness lately???

If you don’t believe you can afford to eat healthfully, consider the high price of being sick and lethargic. Calculate the cost of days missed from work for illness. Add up the price of having no energy to play with your kids or to do things that would help you to save money. Think about the astronomical prices of medical care. Many of these things are completely avoidable – all you have to do is feed your body real food and you will be amazed by your glowing health. How much money have you spent over the last year fighting ill health that could have been avoided through good nutrition?

While the thought of avoided illness may be enough for some, others just can’t get past the price. But there may be ways to help those with a tighter budget, or those that just cringe when they see the higher prices in general.

  • Buy local.  Change your shopping habits and buy from local farmers, either directly from their farm or from a farmer’s market.  You will get your produce at the optimum time, right after it was picked. As well, you can directly ask the farmer about his practices.  Sometimes farmers grow organically and they just haven’t gone through the expensive and highly regulated certification programs.
  • Join a food co-op or CSA.  This is win-win, because it helps out the farmers and it helps out your family. With both of these options, you can register ahead of time (in some cases you pre-pay for the season) and then receive a full of healthy whole foods from your own area.  You will get to try lots of new things and you will get to do this at a fraction of the price.
  • Buy produce that is in-season.  Purchasing food that is in-season is not only cheaper, it is nutritionally beneficial too.  Buying strawberries in January and asparagus in October requires that the produce be picked before it is fully ripe, and the produce begins to decompose and lose nutrients the second it is separated from the plant.  Avoid the high cost of transporting your “fresh” fruits and veggies to the store and stick to the items that nature is currently providing in your area.
  • Grow as much as you can in the space you have.  Plant a sunny windowsill with salad veggies and herbs, grow a container garden on a balcony, or turn your yard into a mini-farm.
  • Use your freezer.  Stock up and freeze when whole food is on sale.
  • Buy staples in bulk.  Organic grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal can be purchased in bulk quantities.  This reduces the price to lower than or equivalent to the smaller conventional packages that are offered in your local grocery store.
  • Buy some meats or fish frozen instead of fresh.  Some butcher shops freeze meat that isn’t sold immediately and sell if for a lower price.  Look for deals on frozen chicken breasts, frozen fish, and frozen turkey breast. Fish is nearly ALWAYS cheaper frozen. Just read your ingredients carefully and make sure you are just getting fish, and that the fish is wild caught.
  • Buy meat in bulk.  Look into buying beef in quantity. Check out the prices at local farms for a quarter of a cow.  You will pay slightly more for the lesser cuts but much less for the better quality cuts.  It balances out to a much lower price for meat farmed in the healthiest way possible.
  • Add some lower priced protein options.  While lots of us would love to have grass-fed beef and free range chicken breasts twice a day, the cost is prohibitive.  Add value-priced wholesome protein with beans, farm fresh eggs, homemade yogurt and cheese, nuts, and milk.
  • Stop eating out.  Just one at a nice restaurant is at least $50 for two. Delivered pizza is about $25 plus a tip. The $25-55 that you would spend for this “convenience” could buy a lot of whole foods.
  • Get into the habit of bringing a cooler with you.  If you are going to be out running errands for the day, load up a cooler with healthy snacks, water, and even a picnic lunch.
  • Brown bag your lunches.  Many people go out to lunch each day during the work week. The thing is, the price of that food was 4-6 times higher than the healthy food that you make at home. Make extra at dinner and then you already have a healthy lunch for the next day!
  • Preserve food.  Whether you grow it yourself, buy it on sale, or get a great deal at the local farmers market, learning to preserve your own food allows you to buy discount seasonal food that you can enjoy the entire year. Canning, dehydrating, and freezing are all methods to help extend the summer harvest for use later in the year.
  • Cook from scratch.  Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you might expect.  Spend a weekend afternoon prepping your food for the week ahead and you can have weekday dinners on the table in less than half an hour.

If you’re ready to make a change to a whole foods lifestyle, don’t let your budget hold you back!  Take a long hard look at what you are spending on take-out coffees and lattes, fast food, delivered pizza, microwave meals, and frozen dinners that you shove into the oven. Look at the beverage budget you spend at the grocery store every week, and keep track of how many soda pops you buy from the vending machine at work. You might be pleasantly surprised when your budget goes down, instead of up!

Get Control Over Your Sugar Cravings

Get control of your cravings

If you’ve found that munching sugary snacks just makes you crave more sugary snacks, you’re not alone. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates — without the backup of protein or fats — can quickly satisfy your palate and give your body a short-term energy boost, but they almost as quickly leave you craving more.

Why Do We Crave Sugar?

There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.

Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high”. Many of us reward ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave them even more!

The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something that’s easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overconsume, averaging about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.

So how to you get control over those cravings?? Try some of these tips.

  • Try a distraction.  Many people cravings for sweets at night when they are at home relaxing and watching TV.  Your first defense is distraction – try to get caught up in a good book, call a friend, paint your toenails.  Many times, these distractions will take your mind off of sugar and then you’ll be ready for bed without needing that sweet thing.
  • Have a cup of tea.  If the distraction doesn’t work, try a hot cup of tea.  Since it’s night, it must be herbal tea.  Tea is a great strategy because it keeps the mouth occupied and gives a full filling in the belly.  After a cup of tea, you should find that you don’t have room for anything to eat.
  • Eat some fruit.  The fruit strategy works 95% of the time, probably because it really contains natural sugar.  But a piece of fruit is more nutritious and less caloric than a candy bar. Pair it with plain greek yogurt.
  • Eat regularly.  Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Instead, eating every three hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you avoid irrational eating behavior. Your best bets? Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce.
  • Have a little bit of the real deal.  If you’ve gotten this far and you still want to raid that pan of brownies sitting on your counter, it’s probably best to give in…slightly.  Cut yourself a very, very small piece, place it on a napkin and sit somewhere comfortable.  Don’t do anything else for these few moments, but focus on that brownie.  Smell it.  Take small bites and savor each one.  When it’s gone, say out loud, “That was wonderful.”  And be done.
  • Put protein, healthy fat and fiber in the mix.  All of them slow down the digestion process, averting blood-sugar spikes. Get creative by adding slow-digesting nutrients to your favorite sweets. If you’re going to have jam on your toast, make sure you’re also having an egg and some nut butter or other fat. If you’re going to eat cereal, put some walnuts on it. Top pear slices with crumbled Gorgonzola. Choose dark chocolate, which contains some fat, over fat-free candies.

  • Combine foods.  If the idea of stopping at a cookie or a baby candy bar seems impossible, you can still fill yourself up and satisfy a sugar craving, too. Combine the craving food with a healthful one – if you love chocolate, for example, dip a banana in chocolate sauce or mix some almonds with chocolate chips. As a beneficial bonus, you’ll satisfy a craving and get healthy nutrients from those good-for-you foods.
  • Brush your teeth.  If you are trying to avoid those cravings at night, try brushing your teeth really well.  Get your mouth full of minty flavor, because the taste of a brownie after that is just not good.

How do you tame your cravings for sweets?

Spicy Shrimp

Another fabulous dinner – quick & easy spicy shrimp! I love using the Seeds of Change quinoa & brown rice. They are fairly expensive when you buy a single pack at the health foods store but you can get a package of 8 at Costco!
www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2012/06/spicy-shrimp-with-cilantro-and-lime.html

Clean Eating Fish Tacos

photo (16)

80 degree weather outside today calls for fish tacos!

This is a very easy meal to make. Most of the time is spent on chopping the veggies. If you are making this dish for a crowd or you need to cut down on time, consider buying pre-shredded carrots and cabbage.
Gluten free tortillas can be tricky – the store was out of the brand that I typically get so these weren’t the greatest.. The best brand that I’ve found so far in terms of consistency and being like “regular” tortillas is Rudi’s.

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-fish-tacos/

Salmon Cakes

salmon cake

A quick and easy dinner recipe! I did not use bread crumbs and they held together fine. Instead of sour cream, use greek yogurt.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/easy_salmon_cakes.html

 

 

Turkey & Kale Stuffed Sweet Potato

Turkey, kale, sweet potato

OMG – This recipe is soooo good!
I used kale instead of spinach, coconut oil instead of bacon fat, and omitted the hot sauce….just because those are the ingredients that I already had in my home.

Here is the recipe, enjoy!!!!
http://paleomg.com/clean-it-up-mondays-turkey-and-spinach-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

Chicken Veggie Lettuce Wraps

chicken lettuce wraps

You don’t need to go to PF Changs for chicken lettuce wraps! Make them at home with this delicious recipe!

http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2011/09/chicken-vegetable-lettuce-cups/

Stop Weighing Yourself!!!

Scale in Trash

I’ve been thinking about the scale today……

A few months ago I was in the horrible routine of weighing myself every morning when I got up. I realized that the scale is actually not the best measurement of my achievements in sticking to a fitness program and clean eating. I’m not going to lie, IT TOOK A WHILE TO BREAK THE HABIT, but now I only step on the scale every few weeks.

This morning I weighed myself and I was actually up a few pounds. But since I am doing a workout program and clean eating 80% of the time, that didn’t make sense……
So, I took my measurements and have actually LOST a couple of inches! I realized that the reason the number is up on the scale is because I have GAINED MUSCLE!

And I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to weigh yourself at ALL. That’s right, just skip it. Madness you say? Here are some reasons you can skip it!!!

The Scale Can Trigger Self-Doubt

For many, when the number isn’t what they want to see, frustration, self-doubt, and judgment sets in. This can lead to giving up on healthy eating, giving in to emotional eating, and getting stuck in a cycle of clean eating followed by huge splurges. I recommend putting the scale aside and only using it every once and a while in conjuction with measuring inches. Just stash it way back in a closet or on a high shelf, and only pull it our at those incremental times that you set, every 30 days or so, as a check in. The goal isn’t to give up on losing weight, but simply to let go of the association between that number and your self-worth, motivation, or self-esteem. This may seem strange at first but you don’t really need a scale to know if you’re on the right track.

The Scale Can Be Very Deceptive

The routine use of scales can be a form of self-deception. Many people place tremendous confidence in the scale, but some of these people go to great lengths to deceive themselves. They always weigh themselves on an empty stomach right after waking. They make sure they’ve exercised and sweat out extra calories before the weigh in. When they finally weigh themselves, they do so without any clothing on. Who are they deceiving? Why? Of course you are going to weigh less in the morning, without any food in your stomach, or without any clothes on. That’s absolutely ridiculous! Stop playing childish games.

Your Weight Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

When you are eating right, it can change the way your clothes fit, the way that you feel in your own skin, and improve your energy level and endurance. When you weigh in, you’re measuring everything that has weight – your body fat, your muscle, but also water weight (which can fluctuate a lot), undigested food, and waste that your body hasn’t yet eliminated. So if, for example, you’re retaining water, your weight can be higher, even if you’ve lost body fat.

Scales Interfere with Motivation

The scales can interfere with your motivation to continue a fitness program. Weight gains often result from increased activity levels and strength training. This is perfectly natural and you want to build muscle as that naturally decreases fat. As you improve muscular strength (through walking, dancing, jogging, or weight lifting), you tend to hold more protein in muscle fibers. Your muscles increase in strength and density. This will show up on the scale and is considered a healthy characteristic. As your fitness program continues, your bone density also improves and thereby increases your weight even more. During this increased activity period, you may have lost several pounds of fat even though you have a net gain of a few pounds of weight. For those who rely on the scale, this gain can be discouraging and depressing. What the scale doesn’t tell you is that you have lost three pounds of fat and gained four pounds of mineral and muscle!

Weight Isn’t A Perfect Indicator Of Body Composition

Ten different women of the same height and weight can each weigh different amounts and wear different sizes. One may weight more but actually have a lower body fat percentage than her the others. While it’s a myth that muscle weighs more than fat (a pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh a pound), getting rid of a pound of fat and gaining a pound of muscle can have a huge impact on how your body looks. To put it in perspective, visualize a 16-ounce ultra lean steak compared to a pound of lard.

Weighing Less Doesn’t Always Equate to Looking Better

One of my challengers thought she was at a plateau in her weight loss and was frustrated because of her upcoming dress fitting for her wedding. She went in and her dress was too big!! She had not obtained her ideal weight but she realized that she had actually lost several inches all over her body and was more toned!!!

There Are Better Measuring Sticks

If your self-esteem is related to the number on the scale, put it away! If you really need some sort of measuring stick, choose a pair of form fitting pants and monitor how they fit. Take your measurements each month to keep tabs on your progress. But keep in mind that what’s really important is understanding your personal patterns, including your cycle, and raising your awareness of your eating patterns.

 

Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, try to focus on your measurements, the way your clothes are fitting, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the way that you feel!

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