Obsessed with Healthy Eating

Is it possible to be too obsessed with healthy eating? I read something the other day saying that a Dr. Steven Bratman coined the term “Orthorexia nervosa” in 1997. It is the informal name of an eating disorder which is an extreme obsession with what the health-conscious individual considers to be healthy eating. He says that this disorder can be as dangerous as anorexia. The orthorexic does not desire to become thin but wants to feel pure, healthy and natural.

People with orthorexia may feel virtuous about their “good” food choices, but vile and self-loathing if they should stray. They may spend hours and hours planning what to eat, and opt for nothing if the right food is not available. He says the pattern is typically seen in “well-educated, middle class, adults over 30”…who have rigid rules about which foods are pure and good. The pattern may start with food allergies and diets where foods are systematically eliminated until only a small number remain. It is also seen in bodybuilders during the competition season followed by an all out binge later on.

Do I have Orthorexia?
Consider the following questions. The more ‘yes’ responses, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia:
• Are you spending more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food?
• Do you always skip foods you once enjoyed in order to only eat the “right” foods?
• Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat anywhere but at home, distancing you from friends and family?
• Do you look down on others who don’t eat your way?
• Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy?
• When you eat the way you’re supposed to, do you feel in total control?
• Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
• Is the virtue you feel about what you eat more important than the pleasure you receive from eating it?
• Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet increased?

If you answer “yes” to 2 or more questions you may need to think less about healthy eating!

Ok, so I may fall into this category. I do not think I have an illness or am obsessive about healthy eating but maybe I go a little far sometimes. I just want to be healthy and provide healthy eating choices for my family most of the time. I am trying to share the information I am learning in the process. Is that such a bad thing?

If I do get too obsessive or am revealing anything that is just too crazy please tell me to shut it!

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Happy Blending

Happy Birthday to me!  I got a new BlendTec blender.  Those of you that do not know it is THE Rolls Royce of all blenders!  They are used in restaurants, coffee shops, smoothie shops and more.  I first was interested in blenders about 1 ½ or so ago when I started making green smoothies.  I had been making my green smoothies in the Magic Bullet or whatever blender I had around and they were fine but I had only dreamed of how smooth and creamy the ones were made in the BlendTec or Vitamix (the closest competition).  My dream finally came true – yeah!  A week or two before my birthday Whole Foods was demonstrating the VitaMix and CostCo was demonstrating the BlendTec.   Was that I sign to be my birthday gift or what?

I have had it about a week and have used it 30 times – how do I know?  Because it keeps track of it!  I’ve made my daily green smoothies, hummus, pesto and banana ice cream.  I have not done any juices, soups, nut butters or ground any grains yet.   I’m still trying to figure out the settings although they have 6 presets sometimes I like to play around with it and you kind of have to figure out how much water or liquid to add but so far I’m thrilled.

Here is one of our latest smoothie recipes:

1 banana
1 organic pear
1 handful organic frozen peaches
4 leafs of organic kale
4 oz water

Funny thing is everytime I run the blender Daniel runs out and says did what did you make mom?  Is it a smoothie?  He loves his smoothies and Sadie does most of the time and the great thing is you start the day off with your greens and you feel great. Try it and call it ‘Shrek Juice’ for the kids.

P.S. http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com uses BlendTec too!

P.P.S. Sorry it has been awhile.. I’ve been volunteering, working with Dan, being a soccer mom, dealing with allergy kids and dog, visiting families with new babies and trying to stay sane with a little exercise through in there!

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First Line of Defense

We got a great welcome to the first week of school…. Last week Daniel came down with a cold Friday afternoon – just in time for the weekend. Is that always how that happens? Fever, sneezing and runny nose. Now, that he is in a school that they actually take attendance and it counts I feel like I am in a rush to recover from it. There are so many things you can do when you have a sick child. Oh, the choices! Run to the doctor, self-medicate, acupuncture, bioenergetics, chiropractic adjustments, naturopathic doctors, herbalists or in worst case scenario go to the hospital emergency rooms.

These are the steps I follow…
1) Increase the vitamins, and try herbal or homeopathic medicine for symptoms.
2) Use the Neti Pot or NeilMed Sinus Rinse. We use them in the shower to clean the nosey out. I know it has kept all of us from sinus infections. It does take some practice with the kids but if you keep up with it during the season every day they will be doing it themselves.
3) Do a BioSET spit clearing (more on this later), which if you catch the symptoms early enough can stop an infection in its tracks.
4) Eat clean foods – veggies, fruits (except high sugar ones), whole grains and broth based soups.

If those do not improve symptoms within a day I usually choose to visit my BioSET practitioner or chiropractor first then if things linger or get drastically worse I end up at the pediatrician’s office. This past weekend we went to the chiropractor for an adjustment. He did verify that in fact his immune system was stimulated to fight the infection and did some light adjustments on him. He reminded me to cut out all sugar, dairy and meats. We do avoid dairy when the allergy/cold season is upon us and rarely have sweets.

We did make it back to school on Monday so either it was a short cold or maybe it was our quick reaction and my miraculous BioSET spit clearing or the chiropractor. Not sure but I’m just glad we are all better now!

Do you have a preventative plan for the cold and flu season? If you want to try alternatives it is best to do it at the early onset of symptoms. If you do not know of herbal/homeopathic remedies Whole Foods, Sprouts and New Flower all have highly trained employees that can recommend products for your symptoms or there are herbalists or MDs that practice homeopathy. I do love BioSET it has helped both myself and Daniel with detox and elimination of some of our allergies and we have just recently started visiting a chiropractor. If you do end up at the pediatrician and are prescribed antibiotics make sure to ask the doctor or pharmacist about supplementing with probiotics to replenish the good bacteria that are needed in your gut for digestion.

What do you do when your child is sick?

Remember Eat Healthy, exercise and make sure to take your vitamins and omega 3s! Hope everyone is staying healthy : )

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I can’t believe it’s not cheese!

It’s Daiya…. And delish.

I am following up from my post ‘Addiction to Cheese’ and I did a taste test of the newest cheese alternative today and I was pleasantly surprised. I was so excited when I found it at my Whole Foods that I had to try it. I made a vegetable pesto pizza that I usually top with goat gouda and used the Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds. I taste tested it before I cooked it and was thinking it would be awful like all the other rice, almond, soy cheeses I’ve tried yet it tasted and felt like real cheese so much so I checked the ingredients and nope…. no dairy or casein. Baked it was very melty and almost stretchy like real cheese. Daniel knew this was not the regular goat gouda that I use on pizza because of the look and taste but gouda is pretty distinctive. He did say “the melted cheese is soooooooo good” and also described it as cheese with a little salt.

I think this is an excellent alternative for vegans or families that are sensitive to dairy or cheese like ours. It is also free of all common allergens. I felt fantastic after I ate it. No stuffy nose, indigestion, itchy throat, and no heavy digestion feeling.

I have not met my goal of eliminating cheese from our house yet but baby steps. Daiya will definitely my pick for when I get a cheese craving.

Pesto Pizza
1/2 bag of Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
1/2 can quartered artichokes
handful of thin asparagus (if desired)
big handful of organic spinach sliced into thin ribbons
Whole Foods Organic Whole Wheat pizza crust
1/2 recipe basil cilantro pesto (recipe below) or store bought pesto

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pesto over pizza. Top with vegetables of choice and cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melty and pizza crusty is brown.

Basil Cilantro Pesto
This is my favorite pesto that I use for everything – on pasta, wraps, pizza, fish, chicken, etc. I try to make a double batch and keep half in fridge and freeze the other half.

2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/3 cup of sliced almonds
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pasty, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth.

Enjoy!

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Greener School Lunches

It’s that time again. Getting organized for school next week. Uniforms, supplies, lunch boxes – check, check, check! Last year I bought a Laptop Lunch box for Daniel and we absolutely love them. It is an American-style bento box that includes an array of compartments in appealing shapes and colors. It also comes with a book of healthy lunch ideas and lunch making tips and recipes. Best thing is I no longer have to use plastic bags, plastic utensils or disposable drink containers that add to the landfill because all parts are reusable, recyclable and dishwasher safe.

Did you know that an average school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of garbage per school year? This equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.


This year I bought Daniel an extra water bottle, and extra containers so I don’t have to wash them every night and I got Sadie a Daisy lunch kit. If you are local and interested I believe you can find some at Greener Living in Lakewood or buy them online at http://www.laptoplunches.com/ and get a 10% discount off your order just enter coupon code “veganlunch”.

Now that Daniel will be going to elementary or ‘big boy school’ I am obviously concerned about the nutrition he will receive while at school. There will be snack and lunch time during the day. I’m not sure how snack time works yet but sounds like parents alternate bringing snack for all students to share. Daniel has a peanut allergy so that will eliminate many of the packaged snack choices. Most likely we’ll be packing both snack and lunches.

Here are some of my ideas for healthy main dish lunches:
*Leftovers from last nights dinner
*Wraps with hummus, veggies, tofu or chicken
*Pasta salads
*Almond butter & strawberry or apple sandwiches cut in fun shapes
*Chicken Salad and crackers
*Egg salad in mini pita pockets
*Pita or crackers & hummus
*Green salad
*Bean burritos with guacamole
*Grilled Veggie sandwich or wrap
*Turkey or chicken on a stick
*Mini cracker sandwiches
*Pizza bagel
*Avocado sandwiches
*Deviled eggs or hard-boiled eggs
*Homemade soup or warmed leftovers in a thermos

Packable snacks:
*Fruit kebab
*Grapes, nectarines, berries, apples, kiwis, oranges, mangos, bananas
*Carrots or peppers & hummus
*Cucumber slices
*Almond butter & celery boats
*Seaweed snacks
*Edamame
*Pretzels
*Homemade Granola
*Homemade Granola bars
*Coconut milk yogurt
*Raisins
*Homemade trail mix
*Dried fruit
*Applesauce

If you have any great ideas post them on the comments. I always need some more.

I know there will come a day that I am tired of packing lunches and Daniel will want to eat the school food. Have you seen school food lately? Lots of processed stuff filled with chemicals that somewhat resembles food. Ick. If you watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in the spring 2010 maybe you have an idea of what I’m talking about or maybe you have witnessed it first hand. Bright pink milk and pizza for breakfast! Thankfully, Dallas ISD has begun to make small changes. They say the menu next year will include brown rice and whole grain breads, vegetarian options daily and homemade sandwiches. That is a start but we have a long way to go. Hopefully I’ll feel comfortable letting him eat school food occasionally but until I see more radical changes I’ll be packing lunches most days.

Just a few more things since I know I’m rambling on and on…
*Check out Whole Foods Put Salad Bars in Schools
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/backtoschool/saladbars.php

*Check out the movie and Join Two Angry Moms http://www.angrymoms.org

*If in Dallas, check out http://www.processedkids.com/ and send email to Lisa Greene to be involved in any local events regarding school lunch reform

*Join the Healthy School Program at http://www.healthiergeneration.org/

Hope everyone is enjoying the last few days before the kids go back to school!

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Thursday’s Truth

Truth is I am tired today. This week I have practically moved from one house to another, gone to 4 appointments, one workshop, 2 playdates and been staying up late so I’m going to make this post brief. I have two simple recipes that anyone can whip up real quick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meme’s French Toast


This is my kids favorite every time they are in Houston they ask Meme for the “toast”.
8 to 10 pieces of sourdough or whole grain wheat bread sliced in ½
1 egg
3 t vanilla
3 t cinnamon
1 c almond milk or 1% organic milk
Earth Balance Spread or butter for pan
Toppings – sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, chopped walnuts, pure maple syrup, Agave or honey.

 

Preheat griddle or nonstick pan. Beat eggs thoroughly, add milk, cinnamon, vanilla and stir. Dip bread in egg mixture and then put a thin slice of Earth Balance Spread in the pan for each slice. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Turn when brown adding another slice of Earth Balance Spread in pan.
Serve with toppings of choice berries, walnuts and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, agave or honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parsnip Fries

Kids love fries and we try a new vegetable or at least a new vegetable recipe few times a month. This recipe was a hit and is so simple.

1 lb parsnips
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
¼ t sea salt
Pepper, if desired

Preheat oven to 425.
Peal parsnips and cut into strips. Toss parsnips with oil and spices
Bake on greased baking sheet or on foil for 30-40 mins, turning every 15 mins, until brown and tender.
Enjoy!

Sorry for the terrible picture I was in a hurry to serve those fries! Promise some good stuff to come : )

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Addiction to Cheese

Cheese is on the mind today perhaps because it is one thing I crave.   I have always loved cheese.  Anything with cheese – grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, fettuccine alfredo, chile con queso, everything cheesy you name it!   When I attempted to become a strict vegan about a year and a half ago I got rid of all animal products including cheese but when I went out to eat it is difficult to avoid.  In America, everything either has meat or cheese!

Unfortunately, my kids have the cheese love too.

Cheese addiction is real.  Dr. Neal Barnard is the author of “Breaking the Food Seduction” which explains why people are addicted to meat, sugar and chocolate.  It turns out that milk contains a protein called casein that releases various opiates called casomorphins during digestion. Before you get too excited, one type of those casomorphins has about one-tenth the pain-killing power of morphine.  In the production of cheese, the casein protein is concentrated, so it’s much higher than in milk. That’s why Dr. Barnard refers to cheese as “dairy crack.”  It gets worse. Cheese also contains an amphetamine-like chemical called phenylethylamine also found in chocolate. And cheese cravings, like opiate cravings, respond to the drug naloxone used for narcotic drug addiction.

Cheese is not only addictive, but it is just not good for you.  70 % of its calories come from fat and ounce for ounce, it may harbor more cholesterol than a steak.  It can increase mucus production, cause behavioral issues such has ADD/ADHD and many are sensitive or allergic to it.  I think that is plenty of reason to give it up.

If you cannot live without cheese and would like to break the habit, Dr. Barnard suggests a three week diet limited to whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruit, together with vitamins B12 and D. He counsels going cold turkey (hold the swiss) for just 3 weeks and you’ll find the cheese cravings will subside.

As for my family, we do not drink cows milk or eat yogurt.  The kids do have some organic cheese sometimes raw and I still love some good goat cheese.   My ultimate goal is to eliminate cheese from our house.   Outside of the house is somewhat out of my control.  We have tried the alternatives and have not been satisfied – I am just not crazy about imitation processed foods and most of them still contain casein the milk protein.  I do hear that Daiya cheese is good but I have yet to try that.  If you do find any goods ones comment below!

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