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Do You Know What You’re Eating?

plums There is something to be said about turning a blind eye and staying naïve to keep a positive attitude.   I have just one problem with that… I’m too inquisitive!

So I’m walking along the produce isles, taking in the beautiful array of colors in front of me.  But then my curiosity and slight OCD take over and I start thinking about how many other hands have touched the same apple and cucumber that I just picked up.  That’s where it all starts…

Here’s some thought provoking information about the produce you buy.

Did you know that most of the produce that you buy at a grocery store could have been harvested weeks and months if not almost a year ago?

It is a common practice for most produce to be harvested early and finished with a chemical spray called ethylene gaswhile in transit.  Yes, produce does emit ethylene naturally while ripening.  But, chemists have taken this natural gas and turned it into a liquid form to spray on early harvested produce.  It is in this form that it’s harmful to us.

Did you know that even some organic apples have a wax coating on them?

This is where it gets tricky.  Many would say that wax has no place being on food.  But consider that some produce naturally has a coating or “wax” on it to help protect it and keep it moist.  The most common types of wax are actually a derivative of animals, minerals or vegetables.  So now it becomes a matter of choice.

Or, how about the fact that produce is handled by many sets of hands that may or may not have been washed after their last trip to the bathroom.

Enough said.

Needless to say, by thinking that buying organic will solve all of the chemical and bacterial issues that consumers need to be aware of is just not going to cut it.  Best bet, by local and in season.  Then, when you get your produce home and begin to prepare it, follow these guidelines to prevent as much chemical and bacterial contamination as much as possible.

  • Soak produce in a 5:1 water to white vinegar ratio for about two minutes
  • For denser produce, scrub the outsides with your hands or a clean cloth
  • Drain and rinse for a good 30 seconds to a minute in clean, running water
  • Store in a clean container different than the one it came home in

Suggested Documentaries

If you have not caught it in previous blogs, my husband and I do not own a TV…  by choice.  I know, I know, how un-American!  How do we watch the news?  How do we watch The Voice?

Netflix

Truth be told, I don’t like the news anyway.  It’s my opinion that most TV stations are ratings-driven media bullies who will say and sell anything for a buck.  And to me, reality TV is a huge issue in today’s society.

My husband mostly agrees with me and for our viewing pleasure, we usually turn to the internet for cheap entertainment.

Now that I’ve pushed my position on the public (does that make me a hypocrite?), there are a few videos that I’d like to share with you.  As I’ve been training for my races, I’ve found numerous documentaries that have truly been worthwhile to see.

On Netflix (which is much cheaper that cable or dish), they have a series of TED talks covering many facets of today’s food industry and the growing concerns surrounding the topic.  They are about 20 minutes in length each.  Some I found very informative and others I skipped on by.

Here is the link:  Netflix

I have also enjoyed watching a few full-length documentaries on Netflix as well.   There are many ideas and political positions within these films.  But I will say, they all get you thinking in terms of how the daily choices you make effect your future as well as the Earth’s future.

Many of these movies can be seen on Hulu and YouTube as well as Netflix.  And don’t forget about your local library!

Here are some of my favorites.

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Hungry for Change
  • Food Fight
  • Ingredients
  • Killer at Large

And these are on my list to watch.

  • Super Size Me
  • Food, Inc.
  • King Corn
  • Food Beware

If there are other’s out there that you think I would enjoy, let me know!

Informational Session!

The time has come for me to face a HUGE fear!  I have always had a hard time getting up in front of a group of people and speaking.  But now I need to face the fear and do it anyway.

Please join me at my very first Information Session!  I decided to start with an overview of Health Coaching and its benefits and then move on to more challenging topics at later sessions.

If you are able to make it, thank you for being my guinea pigs!  If anything it will be very entertaining.  Bear with me and let’s hope my face doesn’t stay the shade of red that I’m sure it will be turning .

Session #1 Poster for Website & Newsletter

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake For all my gluten free friends and chocolate lovers alike… enjoy this amazing treat!  If you feel like switching things up a bit, use coffee instead of the water.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 18oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs

Directions:  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).  Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.  Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time.  Beat in the hot sugar-water.  Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.  Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes.  The center will still look wet.  Chill cake overnight in the pan.  To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Glycemic Index

GI Have you heard of Glycemic Index?  It is a great tool that can help those who are watching their blood sugar levels with diet.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.

There are many websites with lists of foods and their GI score available on the internet.  Some of those include:

A couple of things to keep in mind, portion control is a huge part of any healthy food lifestyle.  Also, these items are listed separately.  It does not take in to consideration the changing factors of preparation and how the items may change their GI when digested together.

The Glow Run

glow run This last weekend was the Glow Run  in downtown Des Moines.  The announcer said that it was the biggest turn out yet, 12,000 runners!  It wasn’t timed, just a fun run with everyone wearing as bright of clothes as possible and lots of glow sticks.

At one point of the route, there was a slight hill and you could see both those in front of you and those who had already turned and were headed back to the finish line.  There were thousands of bright, glowing people, just bobbing along the route.  It truly was a sight to see!

With just a month to go before Dam to Dam, I was happy to feel very comfortable while running.  The hardest part about huge races like that is having to dodge the walkers in front of you while you’re running.  It felt like an obstacle course!

Tomato Cucumber Salad

This salad is so easy and absolutely delicious!  It’s a warm weather staple in our household.  Greek salad

Greek Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese and Olives

Serves 6 to 8

For an authentic taste to this classic Greek salad, also called Saláta Horiátiki, use Greek olive oil, Kalamata olives, sheep or goat’s milk feta and fresh oregano.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

Method:  In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, feta cheese and olives and toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:  Per Serving:200 calories (160 from fat), 18g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 4g protein

Calling all Gardeners

Cool black dirt, baby plants looking for a home, mouth salivating at the possible vegetables that will be enjoyed in just a few short weeks.  Yep, it’s gardening time!  This is only the second time we have done a garden together and I’m hoping this season we have better luck.  gardening

I grew up with a huge garden every year.  It has always been my goal to replicate the bounty that my parents could produce.  Someday, I will succeed!  For now, we have two 4×8 raised beds and a few pots.  This year, we are doing beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, spinach, kale and herbs.

Tell me about your gardens!  I want to know your tricks of the trade.  What veggies do better next to others, which do you start by seed and plant?  I realize there are hundreds of books on the subject but I prefer firsthand experience to learn from.

Spring Clean Your Body

spring cleaning Spring is the time of year many people deep clean their houses of the winter grunge.  I think it’s also a great time to do the same for our bodies.  We have been cooped up for months and probably running pretty sluggish as well.

There are many ways we can detox our bodies.  Some prefer the help of medical shakes and supplements while others like to rely on the natural properties in a number of spices and produce to do the work of the medical foods.   As a whole, bitter, pungent foods are in this category.

Here is a list of natural body cleansers:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Arugula
  • Radishes

Foods to avoid during a cleanse would be:  heavy, oily, salty foods, red meat and dairy.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower-Crust-Pizza-2 We went over to a friend’s house a couple weeks back to meet their handsome new baby boy and play a bit with his older brother.  They had us over for dinner and made pizza.

First I have to say, if someone is gracious enough to make a meal, I will eat whatever is put in front of me and be thankful for every bite.  I may be a health coach but I am not a food snob!

My friend had in the past made a gluten free crust and decided to make one pizza with that recipe and one with a regular dough crust.  The gluten free crust was actually made of cauliflower, and was delicious!  It was so good, my husband and I made pizza that very next week and used the recipe again.

There are many renditions of gluten free crust but this just happens to be the one that I am forwarding to you.  Experiment with this recipe and other ingredients such as corn or rice flour and so on.  Find your favorite and fill the top with lots of great veggies!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Cauliflower, 1 cup
  • Egg, 1 large
  • Cheddar Cheese, 1 cup, shredded (The higher quality the better.)
  • Fennel, 1/2 tsp
  • Oregano, ground, 1 tsp
  • Parsley, dried, 2 tsp

Directions:

Rice or finely chop the cauliflower.  (Remove the cauliflower from the main stem, soak it in cool salt water for about 5 minutes before you grate it or chop it.)  Beat egg, add the cauliflower, and shredded cheese.  Mix the ingredients, squeeze out remaining liquid and press into a greased pizza pan then sprinkle with the spices. Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes. If you double the recipe cook 15 to 20 minutes.  (I also noticed that if you make the outside of the crust thicker than the middle, it bakes more evenly.),

Add desired pizza topping (not included in nutritional info) such as red sauce, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, cheese, etc.  Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly.  (I left mine in about 8 to 10 minutes.)

This makes 6-8 smaller pieces.

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