Monday, March 12, 2012

Eating in the Season: Winter Greens

I have been doing some research about eating in the season and I wanted to share what I'm learning and I thought I better get this post up before Winter is over!

First of all, my curiousity on this topic peaked as I was studying the Word of Wisdom, a code of health observed by members of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe it was given to us from God and if observed will provide the greatest health! It is very simple and basically is all about eating clean. You can read it all here. The part I am referring to says: "All wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man - every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving."

In today's world, you can find most of the commonly used fruits and vegetables available year around in the grocery store - even though they are well out of season. Take cucumbers for example. Cucumber's prime season is June-September, but they are still selling cucumbers in the middle of winter.

Our body wants and needs what is in season. Is it any wonder that the heavier root vegetables are in season during the cold winter months? They supply more calories, starches and good sugars to supply us with the energy we need to survive the colder months. Whereas the Spring Greens that come in the earlier months of spring are blood thinners and help detox and refresh our body from the thicker blood we've accumulated during winter.

(BTW, I read all this in the book Just What is the Word of Wisdom by Dr. Christopher. I highly recommend it!)

This is my first winter in which I have really paid attention to eating in the season; and being a big green eater I have struggled a little bit with finding an assortment of fruits and vegetables that are in season to eat. The variety isn't as great, but as I mentioned above, there is a reason to that. (I bet in the olden days they didn't eat as much, because the days are shorter and they couldn't do much in the dark back then so they just went to bed. but in today's modern food society there isn't much to differentiate between the summer and winter palates. But we should follow the outlines God created.)

In the summer it is easier for me to do a green smoothie everyday, my body just wants it naturally. But this winter I haven't wanted them everyday. But being conscious about getting my fresh veggies I wanted to find a way.

I came upon this website and have found it helpful in staying up to date of what's in season in the USA. You could even narrow it down to your local region. I then would find recipes that use these ingredients.

So I use the greens that are in season: Kale, Collards, Broccoli. I have a bunch of frozen Kale and Collards in my freezer from my garden this Summer and I am getting good use of them now!

I have had some fun making creations with whatever is in season. The green smoothie pictured above has Kale and Collards frozen from my Summer harvest, Cranberries, oragnes, and kiwis. Very delicious.

One of my favorite winter recipes is my Vegan Potato Soup! And I have enjoyed more fresh and steamed broccoli, baked squash, and yams.

What recipes have you found that use only ingredients that are in the season?

Friday, March 9, 2012

32 week & 3 days

Wow! I'm 8 months pregnant. (33 weeks on Monday.) And I'm finally starting to feel pregnant. :) Can't bend over, waking up more at night, can't fit into as many non-maternity tops anymore. (I've been in 2 maternity jeans or 3 pairs of leggings since week 20...yeah, that's getting old.)

I went to see my midwife yesterday and all is well! I'm measuring at 31 weeks and have gained very little weight! Yay! But in the next 2 months little girl will really be packing on the weight and I can feel my tummy stretching more than usual.

This pregnancy has been so wonderful! I have been able to remain active and have been very healthy. I think I'm made to be make a lot of babies. Sounds good to me!

Here's a little note to my sweet baby...

Dear Baby Girl Brown,

I love feeling you move. You are starting to creep up into my ribs, which is a good sign that you are growing! Last night I could feel you moving a lot and when I wake up in the morning I can feel you moving. I think you're a little night owl, which might become a problem... 

Sometimes you are so still and then other times you love to move. It is such a fun feeling. It feels like you are playing the drums in there sometimes and other times I can feel you stretching.

Dad and I are working hard to get your nursery ready. I finally found the fabric I want to use to finish up a few projects in there. You probably won't have a preference, but I know you'll appreciate the love and care that went into creating your special place.

I am in the nesting phase right now - getting projects done that have been sitting around for a year or so - finally! You are moving me into action! Thank you. Everything is close to being ready. I plan to have everything ready by the end of March, then we can just have fun waiting for you in April. 

Although I have stayed quite small during this pregnancy, I can feel you growing each day and my clothes are getting tighter! :)

I am reading a lot of books to prepare for your birth and our first weeks together. I get nervous about it all sometimes, but I know it will all be wonderful. It's fun for me to remember that this is all a first for you too!

In the books I am reading they encourage me to connect with you each day. When I think of you it's sometimes difficult for me to imagine what you look like and to see you as a little baby. Rather, what comes to mind when I think of you is a wise and grown spirit that is still busy at work in Heaven. I'm sure you are finishing up a few things before you begin your life on earth. So I make an effort to connect with your big spirit each day. I feel you have a very strong spirit and strong purpose in this life.  

Although I can't think specifically what you will look like I do see a beautiful and peaceful baby, with sweet lips and plump cheeks. It will be so much fun to find out what color hair and eyes you have. And I'm excited for you to find out what Dad and I look like! 

Stay cozy and warm.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

I Quit Sugar: Week 4-8 Update

Well, I did it. I made it to week 8 of my sugar free detox. (See here and here for weeks 1-3)

Although my last week wasn't purely sugar free - I was on vacation in Florida... and I had to try some Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and ButterBeer at Harry Potter World. But overall, I did my best and I feel I have reached new heights and understanding about what I want to put in my body in the last 8 weeks.

Week 4-5 I continued on no fruit and did a great job. But I missed the variety and got really sick of eating almonds and peanut butter on rice cakes for a snack.

But challenges like this allow me an opportunity to explore new options. I came up with a new snack: fresh cut broccoli and goat cheese on toast. Quite tasty!

Week 6-7 I started to bring fruit back into my diet and enjoyed fresh green smoothies with blueberries and apples with peanut butter! (And I took a "lapse day" and enjoyed a lot of sugary treats at Max Brenner's: Chocolate by the Bald Man in Las Vegas. I have been planning this sugar-day for 3 months and was totally happy about it, because they have the best desserts in the world! Banana Foster's Waffles, Peanut Butter Fudge Sunday, Molten Chocolate Cake. Yeah, I had a little bit of it all.)

What I started to notice though was that into week 7 my cravings started to come back, probably because I was eating fruit again and had that sugar day at Max Brenner's. So it was in my system again.

Let me tell you - Pinterest doesn't help either. Everyone pins those yummy little treats and I start to salivate... So I learned to just ignore those pins and started a board called Sugar/Fructose Free and I am starting my own little collection!

I have found a lot of great resources while I was at it. Let me share them with you:

I have made a handful of treats from Spoonful of Sugar Free and have been quite satisfied. I made the 7-Layer Bars and my mom came over and asked if I had any treats, I told her I had those and she was so excited (they are her favorite treat, but not my healthy version...). She took a bite and said, "Yeah, they're just not the same without sweetened condensed milk poured all over them." I warned her. But for me they were a great snack and treat.

I have realized that it's not always sugar I'm craving, rather the crunch of a cookie, or the gooiness of chocolate cake. The right kind of texture in my food is so adds so much for me. So most of the treats I experimented with satisfied my craving for a soft/chewy/crunchy texture.

Another thought I had while I was eating some oatmeal without sugar was - am I eating oatmeal because I want to enjoy oatmeal or am I eating sugared-oatmeal because I want to enjoy sugar? Same goes for chocolate. I have made some chocolate desserts with unsweetened baker's chocolate and thought am I eating chocolate because I want to taste chocolate or because I want to taste sugar with a little bit of chocolate on the side? (Believe me, one little bite of unsweetened chocolate gives you the chocolate kick you need!) Kind of puts things into perspective. So much of the American Diet is food that's all been sugared and that's what we think the food really tastes like.

So now I'm coming to an end of week 8 and like I mentioned above, this week has been very lax because of vacationing. But I only took 3 bites of the Key Lime Pie last night rather than a whole slice! :) That's something to be proud of, right!

But honestly, I feel so much better physically and emotionally when I just avoid it. Even if it doesn't give me a headache, I feel accomplished when I can say no and choose a better alternative. My body thanks me.... and my baby thanks me!

I am going to do this challenge this month, but I won't be reporting. I am going to use it as a tool and guide to get more ideas and learn more options. I am also learning to listen to my body and not be so rigid and by the book, but let my body tell me what it needs. Not my mouth - my body!

It is so easy to eat sugar, it's everywhere! But with a little bit of determination, planning, and the right tools it is easy to choose a sugar free lifestyle.

I hope this has been helpful for some of you! Remember, sugar free is the way to be!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Yummy Vegan Potato Soup

Winter is the perfect time for soup! But a lot of the soups out there have a cream base and I'm not a huge fan of cow's milk, so I created this delicious Vegan version of the classic Potato Soup. 


Vegan Potato Soup

1 TB Grapeseed Oil
1 medium onion
2-3 Carrots
2-3 Celery Stalks
6-8 Potatos (leave peel on)
Any other vegetables you have 
(I have used Cauliflower, Yellow Squash, Zucchini)

Chop all the veggies with your Chop Wizard
Add 2 Bay Leaves and 2 TB Bragg's Herb Mix
and Sautee for 6-8 minutes

Add 1 TB Arrowroot Powder or other thickener

then add 6 cups of Vegetable Broth

Heat to boil, let boil for 10 minutes

Simmer for 20 minutes

Add 1-2 cups of frozen or fresh corn and 
1 cup Almond Milk 
(optional, I've made it without a milk substitute and it is just as good!)

Simmer 10 more minutes.

Eat up!
(It makes great leftovers!)