Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do you always eat that healthy?

Recently my friend asked me, after I served up some of my non-sugar, gluten free treat, "Do you always eat this healthy?" I thought about it and said, "Yeah, I guess." I don't really notice "how healthy" I am . It's just the way I eat now. Healthy eating is like a hobby for me. I love food documentaries, food books, learning more about whole living and eating. It just interests me.

I think it started after I graduated from high school and started cooking for myself. I started exercising and wanted to live a healthy life. It was easy at home, my parents are both active and my mom is an excellent and healthy cook. So when I was on my own I started doing my research and getting more interested of how to keep it going.

The first few books that really made an impact in my journey were: The Schwarzbein Principle, French Women Don't Get Fat and The Fat Fallacy.

They all talk about eating a whole diet - balanced with vegetables and fruit, good proteins, healthy fats and whole carbohydrates.

Back when low-fat was a huge craze (still is) and all my roommates were buying skim milk I was getting Vitamin D milk (now I don't drink milk). And my body responded well to the full fat.

I've always been thin, so I've never been motivated to eat healthy to loose weight, but rather to maintain and improve my health. I am strong believer that all ailments can be healed by an improved diet. And you can reach optimal healthy by supporting your body with the best foods possible.

So what do I eat? Over the years I have become more educated about diet and lifestyle and slowly have built a very healthy lifestyle. So when my friend asked me, "Do you always eat this healthy?" I had to think about it, because it just is the way it has become.

Okay, so... I don't have milk or butter in my home. I use Almond Milk and Grapeseed or Olive or Coconut Oil instead. And I don't use Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil.

I don't use White Sugar. I use Sucanat, Agave, Stevia, Maple Syrup, Honey or Coconut Sugar.

I don't use White Flour. Actually, I have recently gone Gluten Free, so I don't use any Wheat Flours anymore either. I use a Gluten Free flour blend, Rice Flour or other such gluten free flours.

I don't eat regular pasta, but use Quinoa pasta.

I only use organic cage free eggs, either from the store or our chicken coop.

I eat meat about 1-2 times a week. I try and cook vegetarian meals most of the time. When I do cook meat at home I use Grass Fed Beef and Range Free Chicken.

I don't drink soda. Never been a fan. Although Natural Brew Root Beer is delish! So if it's on sale I'll splurge a little. But I usually end up with a headache afterwards due to sugar overload.

I don't eat packaged-processed foods - chips (except tortillas), cheesy crackers, sugar cereals, packaged dinners, etc.

I drink phytoplankton and clay in the morning. :)

I eat fish occasionally (Salmon and Tuna).

I drink a green smoothie about 4-5 times a week.

I eat lots of raw nuts and seeds.

I use organic ketchup and other sauces.

And recently I have started buying mostly organic produce, but in the season I use items from the garden!

I'm not writing this to brag. Not at all. But to give and share ideas.

There are definitely people that are healthier than me! See here. I tried her way for 5 days and almost died! Eating is a personal thing and "to each their own." But I believe that most people just need more education to know what is out there and the options that are available.

You may look at the way I eat and be overwhelmed. I probably would have been too, if I read this 2 years ago. I have slowly become this way little by little. And you can too. If it feels right. That's important too. Going at your pace and listening to your body along the way.

And I'm

I love Red Mango.

I eat ice cream occasionally - especially if it's really good - like Strawberry Hagen-Daaz, or a Magnum bar.

Mine and Tanner's favorite (and only) fast food joint we hit up for a quick snack is Del Taco. We like the 49 cent tacos and the bean cup. (Although I did some research and I think the beans have gluten in them....)

I love chocolate and eat it. Chocolate chips with Almonds, Lindt balls.... yum!

I have tried to go off cheese as I would like to avoid dairy, but cheese is yummy! So I'm not there yet, but trying alternatives.

Tanner and I love to get Cafe Rio's Vegetarian Salad to share (I don't eat the flour tortilla). It's only $7 and so filling. We eat there at least once a week. I also love their Chicken Tortilla Soup so I'll eat the chicken in that.

And although I think HFCS is nasty and should be avoided at all costs, I do have a little candy every once and a while. Some of my most recent temptations include Peanut M&M's and Tootsie Pops (funny, huh?!). I don't ever buy it, but if someone has a candy bowl I just might help myself.

So there you have it. A little briefing on my diet or "eating lifestyle." I am excited to share more of what I make and eat - now that I'm not taunted by food pictures anymore. :) I have already posted a few healthy recipes and tips on here on my blog. I hope you have been finding those helpful!

What have you done over time to improve your diet?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten and Sugar Free)

I got together with my friends today and made some healthy treats to take to the get-together. They loved the Chocolate Zucchini Bread I made and wanted the recipe. Sometimes I hesitate to post my recipes and makings on my blog because I don't want to go to the trouble to type it all up and take fancy pictures of the end product. I guess I could just take a picture of it on my iPhone and call it good. Food is food, right?! That's what I always say when I mess something up while serving it.

Me and my beautiful friends and their sweet babies!

I love fancy food photos - they make the food look so tempting! But I always forget to take the pictures, if I was planning to. Plus the lighting in my kitchen isn't good for photos, and I don't want to clean everything up in order to take the picture - I just want to sink my teeth into what I just made. :)

So.... I'm just going to share the link.

You'll love this recipe. It is like chocolate cake... but better!

So without further is the recipe (with pictures and all!)

(Well, after I posted this I thought I'd take a picture (my style) of what was left!)

I made 5 changes.

1. I used Sucanat (bought at Costco) instead of Coconut Sugar.
2. I used plain liquid Stevia, not Vanilla. (You can find Stevia in the healthy section of the baking isle of most grocery stores.)
3. I used a Gluten Free flour blend instead of Coconut Flour. You could use regular Wheat Flour or any kind of flour and I think it would turn out fine.
4. I added Pecans! (About 1/3 cup)
5. I also added a chocolate icing made with melted chocolate chips and a little Almond Milk. Yum!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby Update - 12 Weeks

I'm thrilled to report that Baby Brown is doing great. We had our 12 week check-up yesterday and the heartbeat was nice and strong! And the doctor said my pulse was as healthy as can be!

I have been so excited to go to the doctor just to get an update. The riskiest time of pregnancy is the 6-12 week mark so I was so happy to know we were doing great and everything is looking good. I knew in my heart that all was well, but I would still get little worries sneaking in every now and then. But not anymore!

My sweet grandma made Baby Brown a little beanie and it's sooooo tiny. When I opened the gift my heart dropped a couple inches - "Holy cow! I'm going to really have a tiny little baby in my arms soon - that's MINE." Wow!

The other night I had a quick glimpse of how different our lives are going to be once child #1 comes into our lives! I'm sure I still don't even comprehend the changes. But I'm excited. It's time. I've always been super excited to be a mom and I know it will be amazing.

I am feeling much better this last week (although I did throw up this morning...that was unexpected). I have more energy and I am able to exercise more. I get less nausea with food. So all in all things are looking great!!!

The next fun thing will be finding the gender!!! I have an inkling I am having a boy, but my mom thought I'd be a boy to the day I was born and I'm not... So... who knows?

What do YOU think it's going to be?! Let's have some fun! Answer the poll on the side and we'll see what everyone thinks!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Forks Over Knives

I just watched the new movie Forks Over Knives and found it very interesting and educational. I would highly recommend it to anyone that's ready to make some food changes - or to anyone that wants to know why they are sick.

It features Colin Campbell who wrote The China Study, which I am currently reading. And is basically an expansion on that book.

The overall premise is that you should eat vegetables (with your fork) and no animal protein (a knife). It claims that animal protein (meat, dairy and eggs) cause heart disease and other diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, etc., etc.

It is amazing the studies they have done to prove it's validity. There is one man in the movie that was on 8 medications to keep his cholesterol and blood sugars from getting any higher. He switched to a whole-foods, plant-based diet and within 3 weeks he lost 30 pounds, his cholesterol dropped like 120 points, he was completely off the medications that were costing him $200 a month. He was noticeably happier and healthier.

I totally agree with this movie. It makes soooo much sense and it's amazing that all the proof is staring us in the face. Americans are getting sicker and sicker every year - and it's all because of what we eat!!!

As most of you already know, I am a pretty healthy eater, but since being pregnant I have been desiring more processed foods, sugars, ice creams, etc. and have allowed more of those into my diet. And in my need to EAT I have let some commercial (restaurant) meats and menu items slip into my diet as well.

This movie came at a good time, as Tanner and I have been more focused on what we want our diets to look like.

I struggle in the kitchen sometimes - what to eat?, how to make it?, will Tanner like it?, want it to be healthy, but how?, etc. So last night after spending way too much time in the kitchen on dinner, Tanner and I sat down and came up with 17 dinner meals, 6 lunch meals and a few breakfast and snack ideas that we are going to pull from this month. And once a week I will make a new vegetarian dish and if it's good we'll add it to the mix. We chose items we know we love, are easy, have few dishes, and are inexpensive.

Not all of them are vegetarian meals, which I would like to get to eventually. I tend to freak out after seeing movies like this and want to change everything dramatically. But I am going to take it one week at a time. And when I do cook with meat I will use it as a flavoring and not the main dish.

I think it's important too after learning this kind of stuff to ask yourself, "That's what they say, but what do I say?" In other words, what is going to work for my life, right now? (Although the evidence is pretty astounding and makes me want to do what they say, all in good time.)

Here is a copy of our menu for the week:
(I didn't include breakfast which will most likely be a Green Smoothie or oatmeal and fruit.)

If you have any yummy plant-based menu items, please share!!! Go watch the movie and let me know what you think!