Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's a family affair...

Eating healthy is a family affair and in our home, even our pets get in on the action.  
"Kitty," our grand pet border collie,  scored big time recently when she stopped to receive a treat from Ryan Cummings, owner of Bones and Co. at the Austin Farmer's Market.  Ryan knows all about conventional pet food as he once worked in the industry. His life and his pet's life changed course when he discovered how switching to a Paleolithic diet helped him and his dog run faster. Since then, his mission is to provide and inform others about " biologically appropriate" diets for pets, free from grains and processed foods. Ryan says that his "raw food" provides pets with greater energy, shinier coats, smaller stools and  longer life spans.  You can find his pet food line at all Austin independent Pet stores and he plans to bring his goods to the north Texas area soon.

How Sweet It Is!

People often ask me for recommendations regarding a healthy sweetener. And my answer? Honey!

Raw, unprocessed honey, is an excellent sweetener suppling antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Because it hasn't been filtered or heated, it retains it's nutritional benefits. Humans have eaten it for centuries and our bodies know how to process it. One tablespoon has 64 calories and a glycemic load of 10. It is reputed to be better at keeping blood sugar levels stable without the spike that white table sugar can cause. It also has pollen in it which studies show can help those with seasonal allergies.  And certain forms of honey ( like Manuka Honey) have been found to heal skin burns.  

Commercial honey, in contrast, has been filtered and heated, destroying it's nutrients.  So, I buy and cook with raw honey... like this brand I recently scooped up at the Austin Farmer's Market. Yum!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vote With Your Wallet

    A few weeks ago, Chipotle announced an exciting commitment to serve food made with non GMO ingredients.  On May 6, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that Panera Bread Co has said to have committed itself to removing at least 150 artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives from its menu by the end of next year. (It's already cut sucralose, an artificial sweetener and titanium dioxide, used to whiten mozzarella cheese. The article goes on to say that this move will apply to soups, salad dressings, sandwiches and baked goods.  

     My feedback on this?  It's a good thing! As consumers continue to "push back" by spending their hard earned dollars on healthier food, more companies will have to meet their demands in order to stay competitive. Remember- you cast your vote for healthy food with every dollar you spend. So I encourage you to use your power to change things for the better health and wellness your family wants.

A Staycation favorite!

Want to go to a beach this summer but cash reserves are limited? Why not create a beach theme in your own back yard?  A water hose, a slip and slide or pool will do the trick.  Buy some dollar store leis and splurge on some pineapples, mangos or watermelon. Add a miniature cocktail umbrella and watch your snack elevate to a mini vacation as they enjoy the tropical vibe! Don't forget the sunscreen! 

Sunshine-y Day!

Have you ever noticed how the colors of everything seem brighter and sharper after a good spring rain? The grass looks greener, and the flowers and vegetables are showcasing a rainbow of colors.  It's the perfect time to enjoy the bounty of the season in all its glorious variety! Why not try some rainbow carrots?  Your family will love their natural sweetness and ruby colors! And you'll love the ease in making them!

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and  pat dry, one bunch of carrots and place them single layered in a baking tray. Toss carrots with olive oil and sea salt and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives. Then nibble away!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Sneaky Way to Get Your Kids To Eat More Veggies...

Have you tried giving your kids frozen peas and corn?  They are deliciously sweet when frozen and kids love them.
Don't be surprised when they come back for more, leaving your frozen veggies section of your freezer empty!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Stop and smell the roses


I must confess. I often see flowers while shopping, but don’t usually spend the money on them, as I try to live within my budget. And, I consider them a luxury item, giving them to others as gifts. So why don’t I give myself some?  In  Mark 12:31- The Lord says to love your neighbor as yourself.   So, I’m rethinking that in order to love myself like I love others, I need to occasionally do something I’d normally consider extravagant, in order to feel pampered.  Like buying flowers for myself, for no particular reason other than…I’m worth it. You’re worth it too!  What are you doing this week to be kind to yourself?



Have a laugh

Having a stressful day?  Did you know that laughing is good for the immune system?

Studies show it decreases cortisol and epinephrine, two stress hormones.  Time to watch some comedy videos!  (I love Brian Regan!)  



“Laughter does good like a medicine….”  Proverbs 17:22


My feedback - 


Livin la vida Kombucha!

Nothing like Spring time in Texas at the Austin Farmer’s Market!  The flowers are blooming and the Kombucha is flowing on tap!  And if you haven’t had a chance to try Kombucha, you’re missing something!  A healthy, tasty replacement to sodas, Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and cane sugar as it’s base. Fruit juice and other ingredients add additional nutrition and flavoring. It has a slighty tart, fizzy taste and promotes numerous health benefits.


It detoxifies the liver and helps with digestion, by supplying probiotics that can heal a leaky gut.  It also has B vitamins which give energy, along with a tiny bit of caffeine.  But be prudent. Not all Kombucha products are created equal, as some have more sugar than others.  Sensible take away?  Read ingredient labels to find the lower sugar varieties. And enjoy!

Eat your veggies!

Hi! I just read this and wanted to share a paraphrase from a recent article in The Lancet, the world’s leading independent general medical journal:


Psychiatry is at an important juncture….the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a crucial factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggest that the diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.  Evidence is steadily growing for the relation between dietary quality (and potential nutritional deficiencies) and mental health, and for the select use of nutrient-based supplements to address deficiencies....We advocate recognition of diet and nutrition as central determinants of both physical and mental health.



Sensible “take away?” This mama says eat your veggies! (And have some fruit and yogurt for dessert!)  


My feedback - Sharon 

The Bitter Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup

 “The dose makes the poison.”  -  Famous quote by Renaissance Physician Paraclesus 



How many of you have heard the buzz in the news or online about high fructose corn syrup?  How many of you know what it is?


Let me define it for you.  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)is a sweetener made from corn. It is an industrial by-product extracted from corn stalks through a chemical process. It was introduced into the food supply about 30 years ago.  And obesity rates have sky rocketed since then!It is not “natural” as some advertising may have lead you to think and HFCS and table sugar are not bio-identically equal or processed the same way by the body.


HFCS is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar (sucrose) and is in most processed food and drinks sold today.  On average, Americans now consume 150 lbs of sugar per person, per year- a lot more sugar than in previous decades.For example, the original glass bottle introduced by Coca Cola in 1915 was only 6.5 oz. Now we have super size sodas at 20 ounces-(a tripling in size.) And the average 20 ounce soda contains 17 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup.  And when you eat sugar in those doses, it becomes a toxin.  The average American consumes over 60 pounds of HFCS per year in the form of sweetened drinks and processed foods.


Eating a lot of sugar is, as most of us know, unhealthy .But eating high fructose corn syrup is even worse.  And here’s why.  High fructose corn syrup does some interestingly bad things to the body.  As part of the chemical process of making it, the glucose and fructose, which are normally bound together, are separated.    This allows the fructose when ingested to go straight to the liver as no digestion is needed to break it down , turning on a factory of fat production (triclycerides and cholesterol) in your livercalled lipogenesis.  This leads to fatty liver disease, the most common disease in America, affecting up to 90 million Americans. The rapid rise of glucose causes a spike in insulin leading to metabolic disturbance, a bigger appetite, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and type 11 diabetes. And the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that HFCS caused a leaky gut in intestinal cells leading to body- wide inflammation.


Besides high fructose corn syrup containing pure fructose, it contains other chemical toxins.  Chlor-alkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup and contains mercury.  This might not be a problem if consumed once in a while. But the average person consumes more than 20 teaspoons per day of HFCS ( from all sources) and the average teenager who is drinking most of the sodas, energy drinks and prepackaged snacks, is consuming 34 teaspoons a day. These heavy metals accumulate in the body over time, causing health problems and disease according to Dr. Mark Hyman, The Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. 


And for those of you who wonder why you are having trouble losing weight?  You may be interested to learn that HFCS causes your body to have trouble reaching satiety, as it affects the hormone (leptin) that tells you when you’ll full.  So, when you drink that super sweet soda with HFCS, you are actually training your taste buds to want sweeter foods so that you are not content with a regular piece of fruit.  And you experience greater hunger that forces you to gorge on food, consuming more calories that you intended to eat, thereby gaining weight.  


 Foods like crackers, pastries, sodas, bread, condiments, pasta sauce, protein bars, salad dressings, fruit drinks, canned fruits, jellies, cookies, some diary and most sweetened beverages contain it.  And studies at Princeton University showed that rats fed HFCS gained significantly more weight that ones fed water sweetened with regulartable sugar. 


So when you see high fructose corn syrup listed in a product’s ingredient list, you know that it’s an inferior food, and best to leave on the grocery shelf.


And if you see websites on the internet touting anything different, consider the source.  The Corn Refiner’s Association and Food Industry has a lot to lose by your knowing and acting on this.  In an effort to sway public opinion that HFCS is healthy, they have launched a advertising campaign (See CORN REFINERS ASSOCIATION HFCS COMMERCIAL- PARTY  video on youtube) as well as sending brochures to U.S. doctors, dieticians, researchers and professional organizations. The corn industry’s websites “sweetsurprise” and “” are further attempts to regain lost consumer confidence.  



So once again, getting informed, reading ingredient labels and eating organic will help you avoid toxic ingredients like HFCS.



Any questions?