Tag Archives: eating clean

Why Gluten Free? Why?

BRAIN WASH ALERT.

Have you noticed the recent additions to your grocery store shelves?  All over the store, little tags on different shelves and aisles calling to you.  The marketing teams for grocery stores are good.  They are able to capture the consumer’s attention. And what is the current marketing ploy? Gluten Free! Gluten Free is all the rage.  Everywhere you turn you see labeling on everything from sauces, cookies, chips, pastas, drinks and frozen foods.  And why not?  Gluten Free is the current food diet trend, haven’t you heard?  You have to strike while the iron is hot!

FullSizeRender (8)

So what’s the deal with Gluten Free?  Why live a Gluten Free life?  Originally it was primarily to support those with Celiac Disease.  The treatment of symptoms and disease related complications.  From there it sprung to Gluten Allergies.  And if you were not allergic, then you were Gluten Sensitive.  Now a days, Paleo, Atkins, Whole30 and other diets follow a Gluten Free based meal plan and hence the explosion of the Gluten Free product.

Don’t get me wrong here. As someone who lives an 80/20 life, I stay away from gluten products.  I understand that it causes inflammation and digestion issues. In addition, I don’t need all the extra calories from something that doesn’t support my nutrition and honestly doesn’t make me feel good at all.  When I do have that piece of bread (typically French bread…love) my stomach bloats immediately and then afterwards I end up in a fog.  That slice of warm French bread tastes delicious, and so I only partake 20% (or less) of my balanced healthful life.

What does gluten actually do to the body?  Why isn’t it good for you?  There are many different reasons and explanations of course. But the simplest way to explain it is the inflammation that it causes to your entire body.  Joints, muscles, organs even your skin.  Inflammation is a way of the body telling you, This isn’t good for you and we’re fighting it off. Everyone reacts differently to gluten. We are not all designed the same, that’s the beauty of Mother Nature. But the simple fact is, if you’re bloated, feel lethargic and have no energy after you eat a slice of bread…it’s not good for you! Listen to your body. It will tell you when you’re eating things that are right or wrong for you and your health.  Be mindful of that.

Back to the where we started at the grocery store and all the Gluten Free products.  Why am I a little peeved by all of this? Because I don’t use the term lightly!  Living a Clean-Eating life means no processed foods, none.  And as I walk down aisle after aisle at the store I see all these over processed foods with a sign in lights, Gluten Free, just calling for shoppers to stop and take a look.  PROCESSED cookies, chips, pastas, drinks and sauces. Gluten Free does NOT mean that it’s good for you. It can be confusing to those who are trying to start a healthy lifestyle to hear things like Gluten Free and think it’s healthy.  It’s really frustrating to me.

FullSizeRender (9)

I picked up a box of cookies with the tag Gluten Free and read the ingredients.  First one was SUGAR. How is that healthy?

My service announcement to you: Don’t be brainwashed.  All Gluten Free products are not created equal.

Advertisements

Top 15 Organic Items at Costco!

I’m not someone who strictly follows an organic lifestyle. I stick to the Dirty Dozen and look for pesticide free items at my local Farmer’s Market. I choose organic vs. conventional solely due to the fact that the crops are not sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Isn’t that reason enough? On Fridays I go to my local Farmer’s Market. Not only can I find organic and pesticide free produce, I enjoy talking to the vendors/farmers and actually knowing where my food is coming from. I can’t always get there, and when I’m in a pinch I go to Costco. With the amount of greens that my husband and I eat, it makes sense to buy in bulk. Did you know that Costco is known for being a top supplier of organic products? Yep, it’s true. Tons of organic items from produce, to canned diced tomatoes and even olive oil. Costco has even gone as far as to label their organic items in green so you can identify them quickly. Smart and effective!

FullSizeRender (7)

Organic Eggs 24 ct $6.99 Kirkland
I eat eggs tons of different ways and they are a must in our household. Typically, I buy an organic, grass fed, no hormone feed egg, which is what the Kirkland brand offers. Eggs are filled with protein, 6g, and at only 70 calories I can have two!

Bananas 3lbs $1.99 One
We joke that we have monkeys living in our house because of the amount of bananas we go through. And at this price, it’s ok! Bananas are great to bake with, eat alone and pop into a smoothie. Oh, and don’t forget a quick dairy free ice cream! Bananas are packed with a ton of nutrition like 422g of Potassium, 17% of needed Vitamin C and 20% of Vitamin B-6.

Romaine Hearts 6ct $3.49 Earthbound Farms
Lettuce is great to have in the house at all times. It’s not only good for salads. I put mine into smoothies, grill it, and more importantly it’s become my substitution for bread/taco shells. Lettuce is full of water which is great for hydration and, believe it or not, one serving of romaine will cover you in Vitamin A for the day, at 148% of the daily recommended serving.

Power Greens 1.5lbs $4.59 Earthbound Farms
The mighty mix of kale, spinach and chard! This bag is filled to the brim with 290 mg of Potassium, 2g of Protein, 90% of recommended Vitamin A and 60% of Vitamin C. I love this mix and use it in things like smoothies, sauteed with onions and, as a salad base. TIP: Toss into the freezer as is and use at a later date in a smoothie, if you’re unable to use it all at once. They freeze and store great!

Baby Spinach 1lb $3.59 Fresh ‘n’ Natural
Spinach is actually a part of the Dirty Dozen. It soaks up all the toxins that are placed into the ground making it important to purchase organically. Again, a powerhouse green, spinach is packed with all the good stuff like Potassium at 167 mg and Vitamin A at 56%. It, too, is great in salads, smoothies and as a quick sautee.

Blueberries 18oz $7.49 Rainier
Anything that shade of blue has to be good for you! What’s great about blueberries is that they have 4% of fiber per serving, satisfying you and giving you a lasting fullness. They are packed with 114 mg of Potassium and 24% of the recommended serving of Vitamin C. These little gems can be topped onto yogurt, put in overnight oats or salads, and are perfect for desserts. Only 100 calories for a cup too! Blueberries come off and on the Dirty Dozen list, so go with the good stuff!

Carrots 5lbs $4.59 Bunny Luv
Baby carrots are my go to when I want something crunchy and need a quick snack. One medium carrot gives you 203% of your Vitamin A serving. Just one carrot! I love having the baby ones around for salads, stews, smoothies and soups.

Broccolette 2lbs $5.49 Earthbound Farms
I love broccoli, but what I love even more than broccoli is broccolette/broccolini. These are great on the grill, roasted in the oven or steamed. So tender and perfect for any meal. I barely use any seasoning on them, just S&P and enjoy! Broccolini has 6g of Protein per serving and 196% of Vitamin C at 117 mg.

Squash Mix 3.5lbs $5.99 Green Wave
Zucchini and yellow squash is a must in my house. I eat them with eggs, grill them, and now there’s thezoodle’ wave! One cup of this gives you 35% of your Vitamin C for the day and 325 g of Potassium. Not to mention other minerals like Magnesium and Phosphorus, which are great for the body!

Green Beans 2lbs $4.99 Green Wave
An entire cup of green beans contains only 31 calories and is filled with Fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C. This veggie, along with most, is so versatile. Right now Beans are in season and we eat them weekly. Try pickling them! Perfect for a snack on a hot evening!

Coconut Oil 5.2lbs $26.49 Kirkland
This is A LOT of coconut oil and comes in two 2.64 lb containers. I highly recommend storing in a cool dark space or splitting with a friend. The quantity seems like a lot but at a fraction of the price for one small container at your local market. Coconut oil is great for so many things: Cooking, dressings, grilling and baking. Not to mention all the homeopathic healing it has!

Chia Seeds 2lbs $8.79 Nutiva
Cha cha chia! I eat chia seeds every single day! Love them. They’re great in my overnight oats and so many other things like homemade granola, chia pudding, salad dressings and smoothies. An ounce serving of chia seeds has 138 calories and has 10g of Fiber, 115 mg of Potassium and 23% of Magnesium. A little goes a long way!

Quinoa 4lbs $14.79 Nature’s Wild Grains
Living a clean lifestyle, I’ve taken out white potatoes and rice but I need a little ‘starch’ every now and again and quinoa fits the bill. There a lot of debate out there if it’s a seed or not…but I’m sticking with seed! Quinoa is great in muffins, stir fries, and salads. 2.8g of Fiber and 4.4g of Protein are only a few of the benefits that quinoa has to offer.

Diced Tomatoes 8cans $6.35 Kirkland
I don’t usually recommend canned products, but every now and again I have to bend because it’s not summer year round and I cannot get fresh all the time! These are a great staple to have in the pantry for sauces and stews. Lycopene is what causes that deep red color and is the best source of antioxidants.

Honey 1.5lbs $13.79 Kirkland
Organic honey is not always easy to locate at such a great price. This product comes in 3 bottles for easy storage and usage. Honey is a natural substitution for sweetener and great to add to just about anything! I use it in sauces, dressings, chia puddings, smoothies and with just a cup of hot water and lemon.

There are many more items at Costco that are organicfar to many for me to list. But these are great daily staples many can benefit from. Remember, every Costco store is different. Prices and items will vary! A Costco in one direction from my house has Kombucha and the one in the other direction doesn’t but has Acai.

Look for the green signs!
Happy Shopping!

Skip the Diet! Just eat Healthy!

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be all salads and granola type of foods.  It doesn’t mean you cannot have the joys of indulgent foods. I hear that time and time again, I like the food that I like and that’s it. or What’s the point of eating something I don’t want. I just want to enjoy  life. But in my opinion, healthy eating is an 80/20 choice, you can have your kale and cake and eat them BOTH! Enjoying healthy options most of the time and savoring those foods that we know should be eaten in moderation, 20% of the time. For me, that’s things like pasta, NY style pizza and wine. (I’m Italian, can you tell!).

FullSizeRender (6)

Clean Eating has become my lifestyle of choice for the 80% (or more!) of the time. And with that, I’ve taken dieting out of my vocabulary! I no longer eat things like overly-processed foods,rice, flour, deli meats and refined sugar. Dairy is only eaten on occasion. I fill up my plate with fruits, veggies, lean proteins, seeds, nuts and minimal whole grains. For me, beans have taken a back seat as well only due to some digestion issues, but I love them and wish I could eat them. This is my lifestyle and I know I’ve gone wrong in the past over-thinking about the foods I couldn’t have versus thinking about all the foods I could enjoy all the time! It’s not a punishment, it’s a way of life. A better life. I actually feel 100% better when I’m eating healthfully and when I stray on that 20% my body knows it. I’m lethargic, cranky and completely zoned out. It’s a really bad place for me to be. I’d rather eat real, unprocessed foods that are healthful and feel good than eat French fries and feel like crap the rest of the day. Again, that’s why it’s 80/20!

The other thing that has shaped my healthy eating is creating menus for the week. Meal planning has single handedly supported my healthful lifestyle. Not only does it give me a snapshot to what I’m eating for the week, it can support my workout schedule to ensure I’m eating the best foods to give me the energy I need for my more strenuous workouts. In addition to all that, it has actually helped with food expenses in the house. Because I’m creating these menus, I only buy what my husband and I need for the week. No wasted food! It’s awesome.

So what’s in the average healthful day for me? A lot! About 1,500 calories packed with all the nutrition I need. Three meals and two snacks keep me full and satisfied all day long.

For breakfast I usually eat overnight oats. Oats sustain me on my heavy workout days and I feel completely satisfied having them. With only ⅓ cup of oats they are packed with 33g of carbs, 9g of protein and 5g of fiber. It get all those nutrients in just ⅓ cup for breakfast! I top my overnight oats with some strawberries or blueberries (right now they’re in season here) for the perfect morning meal. I add a tablespoon of chia seeds as well to fill me up and keep me fuller longer and because the chia and oats expand so much overnight, I usually split this meal pre and post workout. This is the best breakfast for me to start my day.

For lunch I’ll eat a lean protein with veggies. Usually a salad since it’s been so hot this summer. My favorite right now is arugula with sauteed asparagus and onions, an ounce of feta, tomatoes and two poached eggs. A squeeze of lemon juice tops off the salad. It’s so delicious and keeps me filled up until my snack! (Check out my instagram https://instagram.com/healthylittlesecret/ for the recipe.)

A few hours later, I’ll eat a small piece of fruit with almond butter. Just a tablespoon is all you need to give some extra protein! My other go to snack is a bean free dip that I’ll eat with tons of veggies. Either snack will keep me full until dinnertime. (Spicy Pepper Dip on blog)

Right now in OC we’ve been having a little bit of a heat wave (to put it mildly) so the grill has been my method of choice for cooking dinner. I usually cook wild caught salmon along with kale and zucchini. If you haven’t made kale on the grill you’re missing out. It’s FANTASTIC. A grill basket and a touch of olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper to make this easy, light and yummy dinner. (TIP: I make extra salmon for lunch the next day. Nicoise Salad! It’s on my Instagram account as well https://instagram.com/healthylittlesecret/!)

The last snack of the day for me is dessert. Yes, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean not having something to treat the sweet tooth. For me, that’s DARK chocolate.  I’ve found many varieties that are 85% or higher and taste amazing. I usually get an organic bar and I don’t miss the overly sweet chocolates that I was eating before. One or two squares, that’s all that’s needed to end the evening. I don’t have this every evening, but at least 2 nights a week.

Image (2)

Now, after reading my menu of choice, does it sound like I’m not living a life or am being deprived? I’m hoping you’re saying NO right now and agreeing that it sounded yummy!!! And you know what, healthy eating is delicious. Now actually living on this lifestyle I crave things like kale and overnight oats! It’s true. My cravings for pizza are few and far between.

I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately about the obesity epidemic we have in the U.S. Many things stood out while watching that I just cannot get out of my head: One, every person that is overweight knows that eating fast and over processed foods are what’s causing their weight and health issues. However, because it ‘tastes good’ they continue to eat it. Two, a man actually said he knows he’s going to die from eating they way he does, but he’d rather die at 55 and not give up his BBQ. DIE! Three, people feel that eating healthfully is too expensive and they’d rather use their money on other things. I just cannot get those things out of my head.  DEATH. MONEY. TASTE. That’s more important than HEALTH? What is going on here? Are we that brainwashed?

It’s time to break the cycle. I know it’s difficult. I was on the dieting roller coaster for 10+ years. I eventually snapped out of it and got on the road to health! 80/20, it can be done!

Skip the Diet. Just eat Healthy!