Iced Tea? Yes Please!

Good afternoon!! The weekend is upon us!!

We all enjoy summer BBQ’s and get togethers… well if you’re thinking of sitting back and relaxing this weekend, why not whip this drink up – it’s quite delicious!!

It’s a drink that Dr. Oz recommends thanks to the many health benefits of green tea.  We all know the benefits, right?  Well, green tea purifies your body and maintains vitality – and it’s GREAT for your metabolism.  Green tea accelerates your metabolism by 12%, it regulates your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of a heart attack and various forms of cancer. It also strengthens your immunity and improves your mood.

Find the recipe below – enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 5 green tea bags
  • 1 orange
  • A handful of fresh mint

In boiling water add 5 bags of green tea. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and leave the tea to cool. Orange cut into wedges. Put the tea in a large jar and add the orange slices and mint. Close the jar and leave overnight. The next day drink the tea. Dr. Oz recommends one cup of this drink in the mornings on empty stomach, before meals, and rest to drink at night before going to bed.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Danielle

How healthy is your salad?

Salads are healthy right? Of course!

However, what you put in and on top of your salad predicts the out come of if it’s healthy or not.  This morning I read an article about the 7 worst salad offenders out there and thought you – my readers – would enjoy hearing about it.  So I summed up the article for you! 

Check out the worst 7 salad toppings out there:

1) Creamy Dressings
These are probably the worst dressings you can choose. Take ranch dressing, for example, one serving of two tablespoons has 140 calories — and 130 of those calories are coming from FAT. Other dressings like blue cheese, Caesar, parmesan, or chipotle all fall under this category of dressings to avoid. Not only are they loaded with fat, but they also have high levels of sodium and very little nutritional value.

Healthy Alternative: Stick to vinaigrettes — however, you need to be careful because these can also be high in salt content too.  I would recommend using a little olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette for your salads.  Now, are you still wanting, needing, can’t stop thinking about the yummy salad dressing you’re used too?  Have it – but not a lot.  Put some on the side and dip the tip of your fork into the dressing before you put it in the salad. 

2) Glazed Nuts
Nuts are a great addition to your salads – they are a perfect source of healthy fats.  But stay clear of nuts that have been kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar.  So many companies sell glazed walnuts and pecans and so many of you think they’re still okay to eat.  Stores and restaurants prepare salads to go and they include glazed walnuts and pecans sprinkled on top. that is, until they’re kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar. 

Healthy Alternative: Stick to dry-roasted nuts to save on calories. I like to add sliced almonds to my salads, but chopped pistachios, pecans, and walnuts are a good addition too. Remember to not go overboard.  An ounce will do.

3) Crunchy Tortilla Chips or Shells
Wherever Mexican food is sold, people always order something like a “Southwestern Salad” thinking that they’re making the healthier choice by not ordering tacos or other Mexican dishes. They couldn’t be more wrong! These salads are loaded with cheese, creamy dressings, and high-calorie tortilla chips — or worse — served in a tortilla bowl!! So please, just stay far away from these kinds of salads, and especially tortilla chips or shells, from now on.

Healthy Alternative: You can still order a Mexican-inspired salad, just make some modifications. Request balsamic dressing on the side instead of ranch and hold the tortilla chips and cheese, but keep the rest of the healthy goodies like black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4) Fried Chicken or Shrimp
I always enjoy a serving of protein in my salads, and encourage you to do the same, but steer clear of anything fried. Adding anything fried to your salad just adds unnecessary calories and tons of sodium. It’s not just fried chicken I’m referring to here — this covers fried onions and fried seafood too… well really, anything fried!!  Adding these will turn your salad into one salad that would have the same amount of calories that you should consume in a day – I’m serious. Wouldn’t you rather save your calories for say… dessert? Oh please don’t make me go into healthy desserts! Haha!

Healthy Alternative: If you’re going to add some protein to your salad, choose grilled items only. Consider healthier protein options like shrimp, tuna, eggs, or a veggie burger.

5) Cheese
First let me clarify, cheese isn’t ALL bad. Daily servings of dairy products can boost your body’s fat-burning potential. Studies have shown that dairy-rich diets may help weight loss and the body’s ability to burn fat. Yet when some people add cheese to a salad, they really pile it on — and that’s why it’s on this list. But some cheeses are more nutritional than others, and there are HEALTHY ways to add them to your salad.

Healthy Alternative: Feta is a great choice for salads because it is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses.  If you really need cheese on a salad, buy the “Laughing Cow” cheese triangles and have one.  This helps with portion control.  However, in my opinion, you just don’t need the cheese!!

6) “Craisins”
Craisins, or dried cranberries, are a fruit, so that means they’re good for you, right? Well, not exactly. I know these are a popular item to add onto a salad, and many pre-prepared salads in stores like Walmart and Metro have these ingredients as a topping. But really, they have more sugar than you may realize. Craisins and raisins, are called “nature’s candy” for a reason! Though they are fat-free and relatively low calorie at 130 for a ¼ cup — they’re full of sugar — 29 grams to be exact.

Healthy Alternative: If you can’t give ’em up, I suggest counting them out and only adding 10 or so to your salad. Otherwise, why not add other seasonal fruits to sweeten up your salads? My favourite is adding a mix of diced apple with almonds!! It’s tasty – try it!

7) Croutons
Croutons are an easy way to ruin your salad by adding refined carbohydrates. Croutons from a popular brand are about 30 calories for just six pieces. Do most people put only six croutons on their salad? Not likely. These toppings can also have high sodium levels depending on how they’re prepared.

Healthy Alternative: There is no alternative – you do not need bread put on a salad, simple as that.

Hope you benefited from reading this and I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!!

Danielle

Why Eating Quick, Cheap food is actually expensive

So… I was in the grocery store the other day picking up some fresh fruits and veggies.  I was next to a mother and daughter (mother older than me, and a daughter around Kyle’s age).. I heard the mother say that she would like some avocados.  Obviously the child laughed and didn’t know what she meant.  So she made her way over to the avocados and immediately said “No way! 3 for $5, not worth it.

She put the avocado back and walked away from the vegetables.  I watched her, she walked toward the aisles full of dead, boxed, canned, packaged goods.  These are the aisles where we are able to buy thousands of calories of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, factory-made, processed foods filled with sugar, fat, and salt for the same five dollars as those healthy avocados. This is the scenario millions of us struggling to feed our families face every single day.

The odd paradox is that food insecurity — not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not having enough money to adequately feed your family — leads to obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease. Examining this paradox may help us advocate for policies that make producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole other foods cheaper, while rethinking the almost $300 billion in government subsidies that support the production of cheap, processed food derived from corn and soy.

Anyone see the commercials by Jamie Oliver?  Well he’s a chef who’s trying to show Canadians and Americans that you CAN eat healthy – and afford it too.  He’s showing us that cooking and eating whole fresh foods at home can be cheaper, more fun and simpler than most people think.  Google it, google him, I love him.

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So I want you to ask yourself this: Have you ever made poor food choices because of cost? What is the REAL cost of this cheap food — the cost in dollars, on our health, on our environment, and even on the fraying fabric of our social and family systems?

This is what you need to remember:

  1. The true cost of unhealthy food isn’t just the price tag — in fact, the real costs are hidden.
  2. Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more.

Sure, I know it seems cheaper to eat a burger, fries, and a pop from McDonald’s than to eat a meal of whole foods.  Especially when there’s all these value menus out there.  Of course we think it’s better to purchase a meal for $3.99, but there are healthier, cheaper options. Lets look at why the true costs of eating unhealthy food are hidden, and lets look at some ways that will help all of us save money and stop suffering by eating well for less. Poverty or financial limitations do not preclude eating well, creating health, and avoiding disease.

Let’s start by looking at how our economy and public policy are geared toward the production of cheap, unhealthy food.  
(I did some research and found this from the net)

Government Policy Supports the Production of Unhealthy Food

Unhealthy food is cheaper because our government’s policies support its production. We’re spending nearly $30 billion a year to subsidize corn and soy production. Where do those foods go? These foods go into our food supply as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), that are the foundation of almost all fast food and processed foods that are “manufactured” by the food industry.

Since the 1970s — when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers — we’re consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person.

When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.

Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy. In fact I found that 70% of the wheat, corn, and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people — more than the entire human population on Earth!

The Hidden Costs of Eating Poorly

We all know that bad foods are bad for your health.  Actually, when you think about it, bad foods are also bad for your bank accounts. For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That’s nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures — and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.

So what’s the REAL costs of obesity?  Think about it, sure, you save $4 by buying an already prepared, processed burger by buying it from McDonalds… but think about what poor dieting can lead too.   It can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.  Here’s some facts on obesity:

  • Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work.
  • Obesity accounts for 7 percent of lost productivity due to sick leave and disability.
  • 7 percent of all of North Carolina’s healthcare expenditures are related to obesity.
  • Obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people.
  • Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to require drugs prescribed for cardiovascular and circulation disorders.
  • Liposuction is the Number 1 form of cosmetic surgery in the US, with 400,000 operations a year.
  • Over 100,000 people a year have gastric bypass surgery.

 

As these facts prove, the costs of eating fast, junk, and processed foods are often deferred until later. And that’s the key point: When you go to McDonald’s for a cheap burger and fries, you might immediately compare that lower price to whole organic foods which are more expensive in the short term. But the total cost isn’t reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it’s the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime.

For example, when you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket. There are other non-economic costs of eating poorly as well. You reduce your ability to enjoy life in the moment due to increased fatigue, low-grade health complaints, obesity, depression and more.

The biggest advantage of eating well now is not just preventing disease and costs later, but simply enjoying each day to its fullest. You can make that happen. Eating well doesn’t have to cost more.

So, to sum up my blog, it’s just known that eating well is not just good for your body, it’s good for your wallet, too! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Four Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Less Today

  1. Listen to Gandhi. Yes, Gandhi! He said that we should never mistake what is habitual for what is natural. Case in point: Some Chinese are very poor and yet they eat extremely well — small amounts of animal protein, with an abundance of vegetables.
  2. Be willing to learn. We have to learn new ways of shopping and eating, new ways of ordering our priorities around our health and nutrition that supports our well-being, even if it is hard at the beginning.
  3. Do your research. There are ways to find cheaper sources of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean animal protein. You just need to seek them out. It doesn’t all have to be organic. Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods is a HUGE step in the right direction.
  4. Make an effort. Eating healthy does take more planning. It may require you to find new places to hunt and gather for your family. You might have to reorder your priorities regarding where you spend your money and your time so that you can make healthier eating choices.

Remember, eating healthy foods without spending a lot is possible-and you can do it.