Browsed by
Category: Rethinking Health

A Weekend in the Woods, a Food Plan and a Meal Plan for This Week (January 11)

A Weekend in the Woods, a Food Plan and a Meal Plan for This Week (January 11)

IMG_9519

Snow, snow, snow, snow, SNOW!!!!  How did it get to be Tuesday…or the middle of January?  I keep thinking time will slow down a little bit but it just doesn’t!!

This weekend we went to a wonderful Family Camp…in the middle of the woods in Central Wisconsin with no internet access!!  It was wonderful to unplug and spend time with friends, and that is the main reason I am late in posting this!!  Sorry!

Before I post the menu, I just have to tell you about the food at camp this weekend.  This is a wonderful church camp that we go to and all the food is included in the cost.  It is tasty, but sadly, like most camps and restaurants, it is far from healthy.  While it is made on site, it starts with processed ingredients like white pasta, white bread, canned soup, salad dressing, chicken strips, etc.  Needless to say the gluten free, dairy free, additive free family can’t find much to eat there.  Add to that Whole30 for me, and I didn’t even bother.  So, I got the menu from the camp and made all our food…trying to make the same basic meal they were providing so my kids would not feel left out or deprived!  I am happy to tell you I made the 6 meals that I needed in about 3 hours on Friday morning.  And that included clean up!  Not bad!

Their menu:

Saturday Breakfast:
Cinnamon French Toast & Sausage
Orange Slices

Saturday Lunch:
Grilled Cheese & Chili
Salad Bar

Saturday Dinner:
Chicken Parmigiana & Spaghetti
Cucumber Salad

Sunday Breakfast:
Egg Bake & Hashbrowns
Bagels & Cream Cheese
Cantaloupe

Sunday Lunch:
Chicken Tenders & French Fries
Tossed Salad

MY MENU:

Saturday Breakfast:
Paleo Pancakes  & Sausage (reheated the pancakes in the toaster)
Smoothies (Premade and put in freezer the night before to thaw)

Saturday Lunch:
Chili
Yogurt Parfaits
Salad Bar (we ate theirs and I brought salad dressing)

Saturday Dinner:
Balsamic Chicken and Veggies (done stir fry style)
Mashed Cauliflower
Cucumber Salad

Sunday Breakfast:
Quiche Muffins with a sweet potato crust
Smoothies

Sunday Lunch:
Chili
Yogurt Parfaits
Tossed Salad (from them with our salad dressing)

I also brought snacks with us, because there are delicious but so-not-good-for-you treats out all weekend!  I brought bananas, HB eggs, Guac with plantain chips, apples with almond butter, and popcorn. Oh and I brought 4 GF cookies for my kids! We ate all the snacks!!  The cool part is that I didn’t hear any arguing from my kids about NOT getting all the chocolaty, gluten & sugar filled treats that were there because a) they had full bellies, b) I offered cookies and other sweet snacks at the right time…like after dinner and c) they were so busy having fun (sledding, ice skating, hiking in the snow, and playing board games) that they didn’t give it another thought. At least that is my theory!

Overall I call this weekend a win.  And, though some would feel odd doing this (bringing their food into the dining room), I can’t even tell you how many conversations our food opened up with people at camp…some were SO eager to learn!!  The best part is that after spending a weekend in confined space with some people who were getting sick that I have a healthy family the following week AND we had ZERO TEMPER TANTRUMS ALL WEEKEND LONG (despite far less sleep for my kids than normal)!!  PRAISE GOD!!!  My friends, this works!  And it makes spending 3 hours cooking on Friday worth every second!

Here’s a quick picture or two of some of our weekend fun. Both my kids tried ice skating for the first time!  The lake ice under the snow was so smooth!

IMG_9591

In order to get down to the lake you had little choice but to take this hill.  Most adults walked.  Most kids took this route (with or without a sled!).  We have no idea why there were so many leaves on the hill…there really was snow there too!

IMG_9539

Now, without further ado, here is the menu for this week…week 2 of Whole30!!  I hope you enjoy!!

Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK2

And here is the downloadable pdf version: Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK2.

As always, be healthy!

Colleen

 

Meal Planning and Whole30 Jump Start

Meal Planning and Whole30 Jump Start

Well, holidays are over folks.  If you are like many people at this time of year, you probably indulged a wee bit too much over the last 6 or so weeks.  Your “indulge” might look VERY different from someone else’s version of that word. For some it might mean you ate out, maybe even ate fast food, several times this holiday season. For some it might mean you ate gluten or dairy and you normally don’t. For a handful of you really disciplined folks it might just mean you didn’t consume as many veggies as you normally would.  For many of you (ahem…me!) it might (just MIGHT!) mean you ate a few (dozen!) cookies or extra sweet treats!!  Oh those Christmas cookies….darn you!!  No matter what your “indulge” looks like, are you feeling the effects of it now?

 

So, here we are on January 5.  It is back to work, back to school, back to the regular routine.  But it doesn’t have to be back to the regular diet.  If you are starting this year with a little extra weight or feeling sluggish, your body could probably use a little reset.  If you are experiencing a flare of an auto-immune disease like Crohn’s, MS, or Hashimoto’s or a condition like asthma, migraines, joint pain, or depression, if you have seen an upswing in bad behavior from your kids or maybe moodiness in yourself, or if you are recovering from an illness like the flu, maybe your body could use a bigger reset.  The bottom line is…how about we give our bodies some much needed TLC to start the year?

 

A body reset is the reason I am jumping on the January Whole30 program.  It’s designed to “put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system….Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing.”  Now, I am not saying you can fully heal in 30 days, but most people never even give themselves that amount of time to actually cut out ALL the foods that could be causing problems and see if it helps.  So 30 days is a great start@ After that you will have to decide where to go based on how you feel!  And so I ask you…what have you got to lose? It’s only 30 days, and at the end of it either you won’t feel any different or you will (and most likely it will be in a positive way)! The January kick-off officially started on Jan 1.  I started today, January 5.  You could start tomorrow…or this weekend…or next week!  It doesn’t really matter what date you start, just that you do something to start.  And it doesn’t have to be this program…there are others.  Some are free, some are not.  But I figure these wonderful folks have already done the research and put together the basics.  And it doesn’t cost A THING!!!  Make sure, if you want to try it, that you poke around their website or read their book, and figure out what you can and CAN’T eat to give your body the best shot at resetting and healing!  And, if you want to do it along with me, let me know and we can cheer each other on!!

 

I want to point out that although this temporary reset removes some food groups to accomplish its goals,  I no longer believe food avoidance is the best long term way to handle health issues for the general population. Removing a food or food group can be helpful temporarily for healing purposes and it might be absolutely necessary for someone with permanent damage (like Celiac).  But, if you don’t have permanent damage, then gut healing should be the goal. All God given food groups have a purpose for our body and when they effect us negatively we need to see that as a symptom that our body that needs healing!!

 

To make it easy if you want to do this with me, I am even sharing MY Meal plan with you. And I will do that each week for at least the next 4 weeks.  I hope to keep it up after that but we will cross that bridge when we get there!!  Take parts of it and use it, use it all as is, and just use it as inspiration.  You won’t hurt my feeling either way!

 

One of the cookbooks I reference in my meal plan is the new cookbook by Danielle Walker at Against All Grain called Meals Made Simple.  She has a beautiful story of healing from ulcerative colitis through a complete change in her diet.  She is one of my favorite bloggers and her recipes have yet to disappoint.  You can find many recipes and tons of information on her blog at www.againstallgrain.com.  Her cookbooks (her first cookbook is simply titled Against All Grain) are available at most bookstores, and generally at Costco.  They are a treat to add to any real food library and I am greatly enjoying working my way through these two books! (I have included Amazon links to both, where it seems like the kindle versions are listed at a great price right now!!)

againstAllGrainMealsMadeSimple

Without further ado…here is my meal plan for this week. I will try to get next week’s out earlier! I hope you enjoy.  As always, please feel free to ask questions!

Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK1

And here it is in a PDF: Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK1

 

Happy and Healthy Cooking!!

Colleen

 

 

STANDARD DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog or from social media. Please note that all opinions are my own and I will only share links for items which I personally use and truly feel are of value to my readers. This post may contain affiliate links for Amazon.com. If you click through and purchase your price will be exactly the same but I may receive a small commission. Although it isn’t much, any little bit is appreciated!  So, if you buy via that link, THANK YOU!  And if you find it somewhere else that is less expensive or more accessible..be smart and buy it at the place that has the best price!!

 

 

 

 

A Successful Junk Free Class Party…YES, it is possible!

A Successful Junk Free Class Party…YES, it is possible!

IMG_8817

So those of you who know me or know anything about my food philosophy should not be surprised that I was in charge of snacks for both of my kids’ class parties today.  What you might not know is that in my former life (pre-“mom”) I was a professional event planner.  So, combining my love of planning events AND my love of real food…HELLO!!  Needless to say it was a fun day for me!

Both my kids are currently gluten and dairy free, plus in our home we do no soy, and no chemicals/artificial colors/preservatives/additives (aka…crap).  We use mostly natural sugars, but yes, we do still consume sugar (I try to do it in moderation!).  So, it is with that set of parameters that I set about figuring out what to make to please 46 or so 4th graders and Kindergartners at their parties, while still pleasing mom.  Oh, and to throw a little adventure in, it had to be peanut AND tree nut free, because one class is tree nut free and the other class was doing the party in a shared school space (if we had had their party in their classroom, then we could have done nuts because there are no allergies in that class this year!).

So hello pinterest.  Don’t you just love pinterest?  It’s like Super Target, Hobby Lobby, Costco, and an office supply store all mixed into one great big place that you can go in your jammies. So I went…a few times.  And, you should know, that although I perused and pinned for several weeks, it wasn’t until Sunday night that I was able to finally make a decision on what we were doing. I really do work better under pressure.

We wanted one snack that was also an activity…something the kids could make or build.  A chocolate donut pretzel spider was my inspiration.  That turned into me baking 50 or so mini chocolate cupcakes to make them with instead of a store-bought chocolate donut. Now I like to bake and all but that didn’t sound like that much fun to me. So that turned into what we did…

 

Snack #1: JoJo Pretzel Spiders!

I used JoJos from Trader Joes, (which are like Oreos but without the high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil…they still have some questionable ingredients they are just LESS questionable than Oreos), Newman’s Spelt Pretzels, and organic chocolate candies.  For “gluing” the eyes to the cookie I used two dots of caramel (more on that in a sec).  Originally, I envisioned the legs going down (so the cookie would be lifted off the plate by the legs).  But after some broken cookies and frustration from some cute kindergartners, I realized that holding the cookie down on the plate and putting the legs in flat works MUCH better.

IMG_8865

The 5Kers each made one of these spiders, and it probably took them 5-10 minutes each.  The 4th graders made 2 in that same amount of time. They were a lot of fun!

 

Snack #2: Caramel Apple Mouths

You have probably all seen the apple “mouths” on facebook or pinterest made with apples, marshmallows as “teeth” and peanut butter as the sticky part to hold it all together.  Well, there was peanut butter, so that was out for this party.  Not to mention the marshmallows….have you seen the ingredients in the big name marshmallows? Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Dextrose, Water, Gelatin, Artificial Flavor, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (Whipping Aid), Artificial Color (Blue 1).  (They do realize that marshmallows are WHITE, right? So blue dye makes perfect sense.)  So basically they are a cute little package of GMO corn (turned into sugar), GMO sugar beet (sugar), more GMO corn, more sugar, and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.  Maybe they aren’t so cute.

But, I wanted something with apples and I kept coming back to those apple treats. I also really wanted something with caramel. And then…duh…I realized we could make them with caramel instead of peanut butter!  AND I could make them with good ingredients.  Those big named crap filled marshmallows were out, but there are plenty of homemade recipes (that I have yet to try) AND there are also Elyon Marshmallows. The bag I got at the organic grocery store had only sugar, tapioca syrup, water, kosher fish gelatin, tapioca starch, and natural vanilla flavor. They are wonderful. Sadly, the company has changed a little and is now doing corn OR tapioca for the syrup and starch.  I suppose it is still better than all those other ingredients but this change will lead me to try making my own marshmallows the next time I need them and can’t find the good Elyon ones on my store shelves anymore. I just really prefer not to have any potential GMOS in our world (corn syrup is most likely from GMO corn).  I will put a link to them at the bottom just in case you want to check them out!

Then there is the caramel.  I am sure you can already guess that those square caramels you buy at the grocery store probably aren’t in my pantry.  You would be correct.  They contain corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, palm oil, whey (from milk), salt, artificial flavor, soy lecithin. Again with the GMO corn, soy and, most likely, sugar beet plus a few more GMOS from what the cows were fed that gave us the whey and skim milk.  And skim milk? That’s ironic considering you use heavy whipping cream to make real caramel…as in just the fat part of the milk.  So, back to pinterest I go.  Now you need to know that caramel is a) SO easy to make and b) CLEALY  going to be served in heaven some day.  And it will take great willpower on my part not to just put a straw in it and drink what is leftover.

I made 2 kinds of caramel..one with dairy and one without.  The non-dairy one was DELICIOUS, but too liquidy for this application.  So we will just enjoy dipping anything I can find in that one over the next week!  So I let my non dairy son have a little bit of the dairy version, though I am already regretting that choice.  We all pay the piper when we make bad food choices. For him pasteurized dairy = bad.  🙁

Here are the recipes I used:

Dairy version found at Heavenlyhomemakers.com

Non dairy version at anediblemosaic.com.  Well, technically this does have 1 T of butter in it.  You could use ghee instead or play around with omitting it altogether.  FYI, I never got mine to thicken up quite the same as the dairy version.  Here is the coconut milk I use.  It is a BPA free can and contains no gums or additives!!

As for the apples…just buy organic ones.  Please.  There are SO many pesticides on apples it is ridiculous.  Apples top the EWG’s list of pesticide laden food for a reason.

Now we have to assemble…ha!  I wish I had a picture  of me this morning trying to spread the refrigerated caramel on the apples to make 24 “mouths” in the 30 minutes I had between putting the kids on the bus and leaving for the first party. Sort of a laughing or crying moment…and I learned a few things.  The biggest thing I learned…do yourself a favor and put some slightly warmed caramel in one of the Decorator Bottles from the Pampered Chef.  Then you just squeeze the bottle to dispense.  It was so easy and SO much prettier and less messy than a butter knife.  Find your local PC rep and order one now…before Christmas cookie baking.  You’re welcome.  (If you don’t know a PC rep feel free to let me know and I can get you to a good one!! I used to sell it but don’t anymore!)

IMG_8860

So you just squirt (or spread) on some caramel on two slices of apples, then add 4-6 mini marshmallows and sandwich them together.  Super cute and easy!  And a big hit with the kids!

IMG_8862

 

Snack #3 – Veggies

GASP!  Veggies at a class party?!  Can we do that?  Hell yes we can! I really wanted to do the veggie plate in the shape of a big candy corn but then I thought “what kids really eat raw cauliflower?”  Not most. Even my adventurous real foodie kids sort of look at me sideways when I give them raw cauliflower.  And yellow peppers are EXPENSIVE.  So I opted for carrots and ranch dip.  I figured they were orange and it’s Halloween.  Then I found tri colored baby carrots and the deal was done.  Yellow, red(purplish), and orange ones…if that doesn’t scream harvest I don’t know what does.  The kids think these are so weird and you really are getting some additional vitamins in them just by changing up the color!  Check out the inside of the reddish-purple one!!

IMG_8869b

Now about that ranch dip….  Salad dressing is a real foodies’ Achilles heel.  Seriously…even the good ones…they suck.  I have read the labels of hundreds of bottled salad dressings and the bad ones are just a bottle of chemicals. But even the “good” ones have things like vegetable oil and xanthum gum.  I am not deficient in xanthum gum to my knowledge, so I don’t want it in my food. (I recognize that it isn’t likely terrible for you in small quantities, but it just doesn’t need to be there.)  And I won’t start on vegetable oils…except to say you should stop eating them.  They are not healthy for your heart in any way, shape, or form.  So, BACK to pinterest I go (what did we DO before pinterest?)! 🙂

There are lots and LOTS of ranch dressing recipes, all with slight variations.  I chose this one from Deliciously Organic for the dairy version.  Since I don’t buy mayo for the same reason I don’t buy salad dressing, and I just didn’t feel like making it just for this (especially because I make mine with some coconut oil and I’d have to forgo that for the class parties), I chose to use full fat, organic plain yogurt instead.  So, right there I was missing some flavor, though I couldn’t pinpoint what. I added just a pinch of sugar, and a little bit more of the spices.  I’d like to try it again with mayo and see if it is the right version for us.  The kids, however, enjoyed it!

I also made a dairy free ranch for my son.  However, that one didn’t turn out right.  So, I will keep looking for another!

Whew!!  How did it go in the end?  The kids all seemed happy.  Mostly empty plates were put into the garbage cans! Let me be clear and state that I was NOT going for all “health food”.  I was going for party food clear of all the junk that at it’s best, sends most kids into a behavior frenzie and may be a big contributor to all those dark circles I saw under the eyes of those little peanuts today, and at it’s worst will send some kids into a 2 week-long temper tantrum or asthma flare up or eczema flare or so many other health issues that you might not even connect to food.  Yes there was (quite a lot of!) sugar, but I still feel good about the product that was put out!  And I got thanked by more than one mom for making sure there was no junk in the snacks.  Some of them looked SO surprised!! I wish is wasn’t so unusual!

IMG_8807

 

I hope this can be your encouragement that you CAN provide better snacks in the classrooms and it CAN be just as delicious, or even MORE delicious, than all the junk that sometimes ends up there!

If you have had good luck incorporating better quality treats in the classroom, please share what you did!!

 

Here is a link to the marshmallows..though these are the ones that may now contain corn.  They may still have the corn free ones at your local organic grocery store or co-op!  Amazon seems to only sell the mini ones in a 12 pack.  Here is a link to an individual bag of the big size marshmallows as well.

Happy Halloween!

In health,

Colleen

 

 

STANDARD DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog or from social media. Please note that all opinions are my own and I will only share links for items which I personally use and truly feel are of value to my readers. This post may contain affiliate links for Amazon.com. If you click through and purchase your price will be exactly the same but I may receive a small commission. Although it isn’t much, any little bit is appreciated!  So, if you buy via that link, THANK YOU!  And if you find it somewhere else that is less expensive or more accessible..be smart and buy it at the place that has the best price!!

 

 

Salt restrictions don’t help!

Salt restrictions don’t help!

Have you cut out salt from your diet and you still have high blood pressure?  You might want to read this great article! I love when a group can look at past research and the conclusions drawn and say “you were wrong”!! After all, science isn’t always right, but it is always changing and growing! It is sad that this former study group implied that people can’t avoid salt because it is in all processed foods. Instead of telling them to stop eating processed food (gasp!), they just told them to restrict their salt. Never mind that we need salt to be healthy. Never mind that all salt is not created equal!  Nevermind that health is rarely determined by ONE thing that we do!

If you are on a salt restricted diet (especially if you are also on meds to help with your blood pressure), you might want to give this a read.  Then go online and do further research on the causes of high blood pressure, on the timing of when high blood pressure (or the diseases thought to be caused by high blood pressure) started becoming a problem in this society and what was happening in our culture at the same time that might have affected it, and also on what past cultures ate and whether they had specific health problems. Also, find out what the side effects of your medicine are, especially if you are taking other medicine to counteract those side effects!  If you think you don’t have side effects, know that EVERY medicine has some side effects, whether or not you even notice them.

You also might want to ask yourself/your doctor some hard questions like “who benefits if you follow your doctor’s order… for the rest of your life?” (because the meds aren’t designed to heal your high blood pressure, they are designed to manage it) and “how much training did you(r doctor) receive in nutrition?”  If they say one class you might want to rethink whether they truly can be considered knowledgeable in that area.  After all, I took one class once in Calculus (2, actually!), one in poetry, one in organic chemistry…and I am absolutely certain you would not want to take advice or tutoring from me on any of those subjects now!!  If your doctor isn’t really knowledgeable in an area, then perhaps, on that topic, he or she isn’t the person from whom to get advice!

My goal, as always, is to get you to ask “Why?”, to question authority.  to be your own health advocate!!  Your health deserves that!

No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet (NYTimes.com)

 

Can you say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST?”

Can you say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST?”

Government policy makers used to work for Monsanto!

This image was posted on the Facebook page of Doc Jon.

Many of you have seen my posts regarding Monsanto Corporation and the illness their products create. This week Vladimir Putin said he has had enough as well. He threatened the US that things need to change and Monsanto needs to stop. I compiled a list of current and past employees of this company and their relationship to the US Government. If this doesn’t SCREAM corruption i don’t know what will? Please share this!!!!!

Monsanto_Government

See a problem??? Can you say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST?”

When you see a conflict of interest, what does it make you question?  What SHOULD it make you question?  Does this list make you feel confident that all product approvals, many that were done with NO INDEPENDENT testing and then silently inserted into foods being given to your children, are actually valid?  Does it make you feel that the EPA, the USDA, and the FDA are unbiased and working hard to keep US safe?  Does is make you certain that cases brought against Monsanto, even in front of the US SUPREME Court, are fair and just? Perhaps these are questions that more Americans need to be ask!