Monday, January 25, 2010

Update: 150 Foods

I'm a month into living by the "150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" and I wanted to share with you how it's going.

First off, know that this isn't a diet; instead, it's a way of eating that is pure and uncomplicated. It's vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, oils and spices.

I've eliminated a lot of the foods that I had convinced myself were otherwise "healthy." Like crackers, pretzels, low fat chips and protein/energy bars. Ben still has them - and I won't lie and say that I haven't scooped up a handful or two - but my choices are now centered around things that don't come packaged.

I'm off of bread. Completely. And pasta. The starches I do eat are steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa and potatoes.

I'm using more butter than I have in the past, and more oils, too. I'm drinking 2% organic milk and sweetening it with raw honey or agave (I don't like plain milk) and also adding in cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

We are using big cartons of plain yogurt. Ben was resistant to this as he loves the sweetened individual cartons. I use agave to sweeten his yogurt and he's slowly coming around.

I've eaten more organic chicken and beef this month. I've made soup several times and discovered that I love white beans and Swiss Chard in an organic vegetable broth, simmered with garlic and onions and sweet potatoes. Especially on a rainy, winter day.

In the afternoons, I drink an elixir of aloe juice (Trader Joe's), lemon juice, water and a splash of pomegranite juice. Aloe is a great anti-inflammatory agent although it tastes terrible on its own!

I'm eating dark chocolate a few times a week. And still drinking a lot of coffee!

So what's changed? I'm feeling more energetic overall and less lethargic in the afternoons. Everything in my closet is fitting better. I feel like my body isn't weighed down. I know I've lost a little weight but I'm not tracking it.

Surprisingly, my grocery bill has gone DOWN. Since I'm only buying packaged food for Ben, the majority of my grocery budget can now be allocated to fresh and whole food.

I truly believe that the information in the book can allow for transformation; I'm seeing it daily in my own choices. It's a powerful way of eating and one that I'd recommend to absolutely anyone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Immunity? Yeah, I'll take some. Please?

What is up with me catching and holding on to every virus that comes my way this winter? My body really should be more selective: bronchitis, the stomach flu and a head cold are not the three illnesses I'd pick for myself. No, I'd rather just have your garden variety congestion. Or a little runny nose. Even just a belly ache.

But alas, here I am on Day 5 of the third illness, a nasty head cold, and feeling like my entire physical self has been ravaged.

What to do?

There has to be a reason that I keep getting sick. I'm always quick to blame my lack of immunity on my work conditions: dirty gyms, sweaty bodies, close quarters in our pilates room at the club. But I think there might be more to the equation and I'm bound and determined to figure it out.

It can't be my eating because I haven't missed a day of antioxidant-rich food in months. I drink plenty of water. I rarely drink wine anymore. I take upwards of 25 vitamins and supplements a day (I know, crazy!) I get an adequate amount of exercise. I even had a flu shot.

Some might argue that it's lack of sleep that makes me susceptible but I know people who get by - and thrive - on much less rest than I do. Granted, there is a stress component and I probably need to get a little better at managing that but I think I am; at least making baby steps in the New Year.

I'm not one to ignore health issues, particularly when my own well being is at stake. Case in point: the cholesterol issue. I've been taking mucho supplements since I had my initial cholesterol checked and am looking forward to better results later this month (I'm getting blood work done at the end of the month!). So, now it's time to tap into my resources and solve this issue of why winter viruses love to crawl into my body and hang out.

I'll let you know what I find out. In the meantime, here's to good health for the rest of the winter. And no more fevers, sneezes, or coughs please!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Now THIS is Living!

I've been following the suggestions from "150 Healthiest Foods On Earth" and I thought I'd share what a "typical" day of healthy eating looks like. It's interesting; although I'm eating MORE than ever, I'm losing weight. Which just goes to show you that the right foods, eaten in moderate proportions, can help you with weight loss. No magic formula; just a whole lot of goodness:

Friday: High energy day, up at 5:30am, 50 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of pilates, seven clients, several hours of entertaining my son. Bedtime: 9:30pm (pretty much collapsed!)

Breakfast #1: Coffee with 2% milk* and raw honey, 1 apple with scoop of almond butter

Breakfast #2: 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, scoop of whey protein powder, 3 scoops flaxmeal, raw honey

Lunch: Green salad with beets, grilled chicken, full fat dressing. 5 squares of dark chocolate, handful of almonds.

Afternoon: Americano coffee with half and half
Pomegranate juice mixed with aloe vera juice and lemon

Dinner: Stir-fried collard Greens, sweet potato with butter, chicken breast

Before bed: Milk steeped with cinnamon, cardamom, and fennel.

*Milk and all dairy products are organic. Chicken is organic, antibiotic-free.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Go Get This Book. Now.

If I'm going to endorse a product on this blog, I make darn sure that it's a good one. So, trust me when I tell you that you need to put down what you're doing and GO GET THIS BOOK:

One of my clients recommended this to me before Christmas. I ordered it through Amazon (best price I could find) and had it sent to my mom for Christmas. Now my mom and I are fighting over it and I'm getting ready to order my own copy. It's THAT good.

What I love about the author is that he interviewed dozens of nutritionists and used his own nutrition background to come up with the 150 healthiest foods. It's a non-biased, simplistic and straightforward guide on how to eat.

There are a few surprises in the book. I was happy to find that eggs and butter made the cut! As did beef. Of course, the beef needs to be free-range and organic but given what we're seeing in the news lately, why would you feed yourself or your family anything less than that? Cost is a factor, sure, but there are several other high quality protein sources that are listed in the book.

My goal in 2010 is to get rid of the packaging in my diet. High fiber bread is NOT health food, nor is any other kind of bread. No cracker can be called a health food. A Zone bar is not healthy. Do you see a trend here? Packaging. All the items I mentioned come from a package.

So here's what we're doing at my house. I have my weekly trips to the Farmer's Market for fresh produce. Ben's still eating crackers and bread, but I'm eating the "true" whole grains: oats in the morning, brown rice (with butter!) and quinoa.
We've have homemade cookies, sweetened with agave, in the freezer. The next step is to get off the agave and progress to raw honey. I just bought some at Whole Foods yesterday. It's pretty darn good.

The author uses a star system to delineate which foods he likes the best. We're trying to incorporate more of those into our meals.

If I could buy a copy of this book for all my friends, family and clients, I would. It is just that good.

Start the New Year off right with this easy and informative read. It will change the way you look at food, and more importantly, change the way you choose food for yourself and for your family.

On a personal note, I'm actually really excited about how transforming this information can be. I can already see a difference in my energy level and my mood - just be eliminating the foods that are heavily processed. I love the quote: "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." This book presents the opportunity to eat exactly as we should - and to reap the many rewards of making the best possible food choices.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

A dear, old friend of mine contacted me yesterday for a soup recipe that we both used to make. Her request reminded me of how delicious this soup is so I decided to share it here and make it this week myself.

Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

1 6-ounce box long-grain and wild rice mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package of mushrooms, halved
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 (15.75 ounce) cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk
3 cups shredded roasted skinless chicken

Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and next 4 ingredients (onion through mushrooms) and saute for 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Stir the flour, tarragon and thyme into the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups water, sherry, broth, and evaporated milk; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in cooked rice and chicken; cook for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.