Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan. 30 ~ More Clean "Junk"

My biggest junk food craving is always potato chips. I've been experimenting with making a clean version at home. I have finally tweaked it enough that I am ready to post it. SO YUMMY!!!



1 Yukon Gold Potato

1 tbsp EVOO

Sea Salt, Mrs. Dash, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper

all to taste

Parsley for garnish

1.) Preheat oven to 350*F

2.) Thinly slice potato - the thinner your slices are the crispier your chip will be

3.) In a bowl, mix EVOO and all seasonings except salt and pepper

4.) Spray a cookie sheet with an olive oil cooking spray. Make certain sheet is totally coated with oil.

5.) Dip the potato slices in the EVOO/Spice mixture, then place them in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

6.) Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes. Watch the potatoes very carefully and remove when they become brown.

7.) Line a plate with a paper towel and put the chips on plate to cool. Sprinkle with parsley for a little bit of color.

The entire recipe above contains 284 calories, 13 g of fat, 37 g of carbs, and 4.7 g of fiber.

If you want to use this a snack serve it with a dip made from yogurt for a protein source.

Try your own seasonings. I am going to try to duplicate some of my favorite chip flavors. Let me know what new flavor sensations you come up with!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jan. 30 ~ January wrap up

Well, the end of the month is near. I always like to look over my month and see what my victories were and where I need to improve.


* Lost 5 pounds
* Worked out steadily for the last two weeks of the month
* Avoided binge eating despite extreme stress
* Article is prepped and ready to be submitted

Learning Opportunities:

* Could have kept my eating tighter, although it was technically clean
* When I skip workouts I tend to continue skipping workouts
* I MUST cut back on the stress in my life if I hope for continued success
* My water intake suffers when I am under pressure

I'm not thrilled with January. I feel like I have let life get in the way of my goals. It is going to take a lot longer to get where I want to be at the rate I went this month. I need a new resolve to meet my goals in an expeditious manner. 5 pounds is better than nothing, or a gain, but not what I had hoped for. I'll weigh in again on the last day of the month and hope at least one more pound is gone.

In February, I need to refocus on where I want to be.
* I am going to make a vision board to hang in a prominent place, as recommended by several people.
* I'm going to work on the stressors in my life which includes making a doctor's appointment regarding my anxiety and some bothersome health issues
* I am going to purge the storage areas of my house to clean them out and to try and raise some money
* I'm going to increase my water intake by drinking 500 mLs of water as soon as I wake up and before I have coffee.
* I am going to increase my protein by drinking more skim milk
* I am going to work on staying on schedule for meals.
* I'm going to continue working out as soon as DD9 leaves for school.

I recommend analyzing your previous month and using that analysis to set goals for the next month. Good luck in February, everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jan. 28 ~ Toxin of the Day: BHA/BHT

BHA stands for Butylated Hydroxyanisole. It is a preservative that prevents or slows oxidization in fats. (an antioxidant but not the good kind found in fruits and vegetables.) It is more prevalently added to higher fat foods to prevent rancidity. The FDA put it on the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list, however recommends limiting the consumption and has asked that additional testing be done. That suggests to me that they don't really find it that safe. Closely related to BHA is it's chemical cousin, BHT or Butyl Hydroxytulane. The chemical effects are the same

BHA has been shown in animal studies to cause cancer in at least 3 different species, in different organs in each species. It has also been proven to cause brain damage, upset the endocrine balance, and severe allergic reactions. The US Dept of Health and Human Service is quoted as saying that BHA is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." BHT is stored in human fat and can be released into the body in large doses during weight loss. It has been shown to increase the risk of cancer in animal studies.

Both of these chemicals are commonly found in potato chips, chewing gum, and vegetable oils. These potential carcinogens are also found in many cosmetic products including lip balm and diaper rash cream for babies.

BHA and BHT are completely banned in Europe and cannot be used in either cosmetics or food. In North America the Cosmetic Safety Database classifies BHA as a "high risk" product and lists the following as indicated health effects:
developmental/reproductive toxicity
allergies/ immunotoxicity
organ system toxicity
endocrine disfunction
biochemical or cellular level changes
I came upon the cosmetic information accidentally but it makes me realize that as we strive for chemical-free foods, applying these same chemicals to our skin may be equally harmful.
BHA and BHT are now on my list of products to keep OUT of my house!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jan.27 ~ Cheat Meal

I had an unplanned cheat today, and I realized how much I THINK about my food now. Here are the differences:

I had a cheeseburger and french fries today. It is not a healthy meal by any stretch. BUT....

~ I chose a burger that was 100% Angus beef
~ I chose a whole wheat bun.
~ I went to a place that makes their fries from actual potatoes
~ I had every vegetable in the place piled onto my burger
~ Before I even sat down at the table, I threw away half of the French fries.

Before I would have put little or no thought into what I got. Consider the ingredients in these popular French fries.

McPopular fries: potatoes, canola oil, hydrogenated soy bean oil, safflower oil, natural flavors, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate, citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane,.

Then these tasty creations are cooked in: canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soy bean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethlypolysiloxane.

And then we douse them in salt. Lots and lots of salt.

I believe those might survive a nuclear war.... I think there was something about that in a certain documentary.

So by no means clean was today's cheat meal, but I didn't feel like I poured a ton of chemicals into my body. Just too much fat and sodium. I realize the ability to "unclench" (as my teenager so delicately puts it) from time to time is vital to my long term success.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan. 26 ~ The Salad Bar Theory of Feeding Kids

As a mom, one of my biggest clean eating challenges is feeding my often-reluctant children.

To combat this I have developed what I like to call the salad bar theory. You know those huge salad bar/buffet restaurants with the "All You Can Eat" theme? Well, we have that at home quite frequently. We have a basic item and the kids get to add their toppings/add-ins. The only rule is that they must have one food from the protein section and one food from the veggie section. Aside from that, I try valiantly to keep my paws out of it.

This morning I was delighted when DD9 jumped right in to making her breakfast her own creation. It made me realize how easy it is to expand the salad bar theory to all three meals. Here are some examples:

Bases: Oatmeal, whole grain toast or English muffin
Proteins: Variety of Nut Butters, Yogurt cheese
Fruit: Thinly Sliced Apples, Smashed Strawberries, Blueberries, crushed pineapple, sliced banana
Toppings: Honey, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Chopped nuts
Bases: Wrap, pita or whole grain bread
Proteins: Hummus, Nut Butters, Thin Sliced Poultry or Steak
Veggies: Lettuce or Spinach, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Grated Carrots
Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Oil & Vinegar Dressings, Mrs. Dash, Guacamole, Tzatziki
Bases: Lettuce, Mixed greens, Baby Spinach
Proteins: Hard-boiled Eggs, Grilled sliced lean meat, kidney beans, chick peas, tuna
Veggies: Cold steamed broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions
Toppings: Clean croutons, Oil and Vinegar dressing, Yogurt dressing, lime juice, chopped almonds or walnuts, dried cranberries, feta cheese
Bases: Fresh pizza dough, whole grain pitas, tortillas
Proteins: Refried Beans, Grilled Chicken, Seasoned Ground Meat
Veggies: Pizza sauce, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Grated Carrot, Tomatoes, Spinach
Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Olives, Roasted Garlic, Feta Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Salsa
Tacos or Quesadillas:
Bases: Soft tortillas, tostada shells, hard taco shells, Pita bread
Protein: Refried Beans, Grilled Chicken, Ground Meat
Veggies: Lettuce, Spinach, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Salsa, Corn, Black Beans
Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Feta Cheese, Guacamole, Plain Yogurt
You could go a lot of different directions with this: stir fries, pasta dishes - the sky is the limit! This type of meal is pretty well the most popular way to go in our house. I often use this method when we have company too - other kids seem to think it is pretty fun to pick their own stuff.
Engage your creativity and try putting out a spread for the kids. If you chop up your veggies and proteins and put them in Rubbermaid containers, you can use the same basic ingredients for several meals.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan. 25: Stress

Do you ever feel the victim to so much stress you just don't know what to do with it all? I'm there. Sometimes I actually miss the boost from the nasty white carbs, even though it was momentary. That 20 minutes or so of relief from the stress and anxiety of life would be a welcome relief right about now.

However, I have killed that particular vice with knowledge. Understanding how I will feel afterwards, physically and mentally, means that I don't even get that brief reprieve from life. Understanding the cycle of eating, then crashing, then eating some more, means that it just isn't worth it.

I'm glad, because this way, life is not derailing me from my goals.

I need a better way to deal with stress. The headaches/neck aches that I have been getting are unbelievable in their intensity.

Here is what is going on:

1.) Money problems
2.) Trouble getting work - I've sent off over 100 resumes and no job yet
3.) Problems with my teen daughter - she wants to move in with Dad and it is breaking my heart in two

Unfortunately, none of these problems are easily solvable. There are too many variables. It isn't often in life that I have had issues I could not tackle head on and take care of. That's why this is so tough for me. I'm trying to make a road map to get through it.

1.) Daily exercise, even if only for 10 minutes
2.) Keeping my surroundings tidy and pleasant
3.) Eat well
4.) Sell some things we no longer use on Kijiji and Ebay
5.) Spend an hour a day sending off more resumes
6.) Spending time outside when weather allows
7.)Write it down- I'm making lists and crossing things off, and I'm using this blog and a personal journal to deal with my feelings.
8.) Visiting a chiropractor to see if anything can be done about the neck pain.
9.) Researching and writing my blog - my goal is to one day turn some of this information into a book so that I can reach more people with my message about the poisons in the North American food supply.
10.) Turn off the computer - I tend to play on the computer when I am stressed instead of taking concrete actions.

So you guys can expect entries - lots of entries - over the next little while. I know I will get my feet back on the ground soon. Daisy will get her groove back.

I know that life goes on. It really seems that when my dad passed away last year I totally lost control of my life in my grief. He'd be so disappointed in me, but he would have some great advice if he was here. He was always my touchstone, my tether to reality and practicality.

It all boils down to this: I miss you, Daddy. I'll pull it all back together in memory of you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan. 24: Toxin of the Day ~ Carrageenan

What is this mysterious ingredient I keep finding on the labels of yogurt and ice cream? Is it prime to be a Toxin of the Day?

Yup. Like anything else on the ingredient list we can't picture coming from it's source, Carrageenan is less than desirable for our consumption. It comes from seaweed and is used to increase viscosity in foods. The seaweed is treated with a hot solution of potassium hydroxide, and then the cellulose is removed by centrifugation and filtration. Then through evaporation the cellulose is dried and then ground for commercial use.

Carrageenan is frequently found in dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt and ice cream, beer, pates, shaved ham, fruit gushers (it's the gel gooey stuff in the middle), toothpaste and soy milk. If you don't want to eat it, you can also locate it in sexual lubricants, where it is being tested for it's ability to protect the user against certain sexually transmitted diseases. Other uses are in fire-fighting foam and shoe polish.

Carrageenan degrades in high heat or acidic settings, forming poligeenan. Animal studies have linked consumption of this substance to gastrointestinal and cancer. Studies have also related it to the worsening of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms and Crohn's disease symptoms.

The World Health Organization expressed "concern about the potential promotion of colon carcinogenesis by Carrageenans." They also noted more research needs to be done regarding the fact that Carrageenans are a prominent ingredient in some baby formulas. They felt that the current tests were inconclusive regarding the safety of this additive.

Carrageenan starts out as seaweed, which sounds healthy and natural. When I looked up studies, I could not find as much resounding evidence that this one is a killer as many of the other additives I have researched. This is the absolute fact I gleaned from my research: Carrageenan is a Vaseline-like substance that when orally consumed, coats the stomach with an oily greasy residue that may cause gastro-intestinal distress. It may or may not give me cancer, but it is much more likely that it will make me think I am lactose intolerant or suffering from a food allergy when all I am suffering from is an additive reaction. I would NOT feed my babies a formula containing this creation, nor do I plan to include anything with this ingredient in our family meals.

This one might be a bit of a toss up whether or not it's an actual toxin. That being said, I plan to err on the side of safety and wholesomeness.