Category Archives: Clean Eating

Health Reasons To Grow And Eat More Colorful Vegetables

Health Reasons To Grow And Eat More Colorful Vegetables

With the official start of Spring this week, it is time to start thinking about renewing, refreshing and regenerating your health and your lifestyle.

Eating a plant-based diet can enhance and invigorate your health and there is every reason to believe that it can improve the quality of your life. Many nutrition experts recommend a colorful plate as the more variety in colors of produce the more nutrients you get into your body.

Many color vegetables and fruits can be grown in your garden and will provide fresh, pesticide free produce for you, and your family.

Both fruits and vegetables have their own natural color that will impart many health benefits. They are low in calories and can be picked from your garden when they have a maximum amount of nutrients. Here are some colorful fruits and vegetables you should be incorporating into your diet every day for optimum health and wellness.  Don’t you want to have the energy you need to keep up with your family?

Learn about starting a Kitchen Garden here.

Red Fruits and Vegetables

These include healthy foods such as tomatoes, guava, raspberries, red cabbage, watermelon, cherries, kidney beans, beets, and blueberries. All of these fruits and vegetables are extremely rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins and lycopene.

Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of oxygen free radicals from the body, which has the potential to damage cells, including cellular DNA. Experts say you will be healthier if you eat up to 30 milligrams of lycopene.

One medium tomato picked fresh from your garden will provide you with 3 milligrams of lycopene. Lycopene is also considered a carotenoid, which helps you make and use Vitamin A in the body.

Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables

These are vegetables and fruits like yellow peppers and cantaloupe. They are rich in beta-carotene, which is a precursor to making vitamin A. Vitamin A is a healthful nutrient that helps your vision at night and is helpful in controlling the health of your skin, bones, and teeth.

Yellow and orange vegetables and fruits also contain folate, which is an antioxidant that also is a preventative against neural tube defects in growing fetuses. You need about 500 mg of vitamin A per day, which can be more than gotten from a couple of cups of yellow cantaloupe. The same amount of cantaloupe provides about 65 mg of folate, of which you need about 320 mg per day.

Green Vegetables

There are many green vegetables you can grow in your garden including greens, peas, and green beans. These are especially good for the health of your bones, teeth, and eyes. You need these vegetables as adequate sources for vitamin K, which helps you clot blood better. Just two cups of raw spinach gives you more than double the amount of vitamin K you require each day for optimal health. Green vegetables contain great amounts of vitamin C and vitamin E, which aid in decreasing your overall risk for certain chronic disease. They also provide you with the phytonutrients called zeaxanthin and lutein, which are protective against macular degeneration.

I’m starting my kitchen garden soon.  Will you join me?

Blue and Purple Vegetables

These include blueberries, other berries, and eggplant. They contain anthocyanins, which prevent heart disease through their antioxidant properties. It is known that they contain certain flavonoids and Ellagic acid that can destroy cancer cells, including cells that make lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and breast cancer. These compounds also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are protective against colon and esophageal cancer.

White Fruits and Vegetables

White fruits and vegetable include pears, apples, cauliflower, cucumbers, and bananas. These foods are fiber-rich which can aid in your digestion and which can bind cholesterol so it doesn’t reach your bloodstream. They also contain antioxidants like quercetin, which is particularly prevalent in pears and apples. White fruits are helpful in lowering your stroke risk.

The Home Garden

Try to incorporate as many colored vegetables as you can in your daily diet. They all act differently on your body and have known health benefits you truly need. This is made easy by growing an organic vegetable and fruit garden at home. It does not take a lot of space, and it is a rewarding and beneficial activity for the whole family.

One of the greatest benefits to growing your own produce is that you can avoid eating the pesticides that are in commercial fruits and vegetables. Organic produce is available in stores, but many people complain about buying organic because it costs a lot more– that is another great reason to start a garden!

A Super Easy Way to Get A Boost of Antioxidants NOW

A super easy way to add antioxidants in your diet is through essential oils.  I add lemon oil, grapefruit oil and orange oil in my smoothies almost everyday.  I make a mean chocolate mint smoothie with the peppermint oil.  These are very high quality oils, and they taste AMAZING!

via GIPHY

Learn more about how essential oils can be added to your plant-based healthy lifestyle here

 

50 Tips for Organic & Clean Living

50 Tips for Organic & Clean Living

  1. Faucet water contains fluoride in all 50 states. Purchase a reverse osmosis filter to remove it. A Britta filter won’t be enough.
  2. Chlorine in water will evaporate after a few hours. Just leave it in a filter or jug in your fridge overnight.
  3. Though Nalgene bottles are BPA-free, they’ve been found to leech other chemicals. Use glass bottles to be 100% safe.
  4. Avoid synthetic anti-bacterial soaps. Residue on dishes and hands gets in the stomach and kills your “good bacteria.”
  5. Cooking with coconut oil is better than olive oil. It has more Omega-3s and doesn’t oxidize in sunlight or high temperatures.
  6. Traditional toothpaste is full of chemicals like Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Diethanolamine (DEA). Even though you need to get used to the different taste, use alternative to traditional toothpaste. I use Thieves Ultra Toothpaste from Young Living (I am a member and distributor).
  7. Setting up a vertical garden takes a week or two, but can pay off in organic produce for years. Ask about our “growing your own food” guide!
  8. Coconut or almond based ice cream is a fantastic way to indulge, without eating dairy.
  9. Most organic eggs come from cooped up chickens fed organic produce. For true free range eggs, find a local farmer on localharvest.org.
  10. “Organically made” is not the same as “Organic.” “Freely Traded” is not the same as “Free Trade.” Those former foods aren’t certified.
  11. Avoid cheap vegetable oils, not only are they full of GMO’s they are often full  at all costs. They’re high in Omega-6 and very unhealthy.
  12. Most “grass fed” beef are still grain finished. For 100% grass fed beef, look for a local farm you can buy from.
  13. Many fruits have quite a high glycemic index. The exception are berries (including strawberries) which are low GI and very healthy.
  14. Think you can’t afford organic? Buy foods that are in season. It’s both more inexpensive and healthier. Buy it when it’s in season, then freeze it. It’s healthier than buying it out of season.
  15. Avoid large fish like tuna. Large fish eat small fish and build up higher concentrations of mercury.
  16. Avoid multi-vitamins. Instead, build your own vitamin stack. Most multi-vitamins skimp on the important nutrients.
  17. Consider supplementing Omega-3s. It’s perhaps the most important supplement of all for the health conscious.
  18. Look up and remember when your local farmer’s markets are. They’re cheaper, and you can ask directly about how the food was grown.
  19. Buy green cleaning products to avoid chemicals like ammonia or chlorine in your house. Ask about our “Detox & De-stressing Your Home” class.
  20. Not all food has to be labeled “Organic” to be healthy. If you’re buying directly from the farmer, it can also be organic ask how it was made grown.
  21. Sign up for a local farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get your local fruit or veggie boxes. Farmers will deliver fresh organic produce straight to your door.
  22. See if there are food co-ops near you. These co-ops grow organic food and sell it to their local markets. Co-op membership fees are one-time, but the benefits last a lifetime.  My family has had a co-op membership for 15 years and the kids use it!
  23. Carrots, beets and radishes are very easy to grow. If you want to give growing a shot, that’s a good place to start.
  24. Try to eat as much of your produce raw as possible. Cooking destroys enzymes and can reduce vitamin content by 12x.
  25. Soak produce in 1/3rd vinegar and 2/3rds water to kill bacteria, if eating it raw.
  26. Check the OCA’s website to buy organic foods online – organicconsumers.org
  27. Trader Joe’s is a great, lower-cost alternative to Whole Foods. Do you shop there?
  28. Subscribe to health coupon sites for deals. organicdeals.com healthsavers.com mambosprouts.com
  29. Look for “specials” in supermarkets (including Whole Foods.) These mean the food’s in season and affordable.
  30. Organic beans are a great source of protein. Make sure you cook them thoroughly, as semi-cooked beans are toxic.
  31. Quinoa is a complete amino acid and provides your body with all the proteins you need. Yummy and easy to cook, too!
  32. Buy your organic chickens whole. It’s cheaper than buying by the part, and you can use the carcass to make broth.
  33. Most coffee shops (including Starbucks) sell Fair Trade but not organic coffee. Organic coffee is available online or at your local co-op.
  34. Use the bulk isle. You can buy everything from beans to quinoa to nuts while saving money and saving packaging.
  35. Never eat the skin of non-organic papayas or mangos. Some are dipped in toxic pesticides when they cross the border.
  36. When buying seeds, make sure you’re buying non-GMO. If it doesn’t say it’s non-GMO, don’t assume that it is.
  37. Make your jams at home. Most commercial jams (even organic) like peanut butter jam or strawberry jam are high in sugar.
  38. Agave nectar isn’t much healthier than traditional sugar. Organic honey is better, while organic coconut sugar is best.
  39. Store your olive oil in a dry place, outside of sunlight. Oxidized olive oil is very dangerous.
  40. Nut milks in supermarkets contain a lot of additive ingredients. For best results, make your own. It only takes 10 mins.
  41. Nuts can be healthy snacks, but they’re also very high in fat and calories. Enjoy them, but eat in moderation.
  42. Bananas are high GI and low in nutritional value. Plantains are low GI and much healthier. But they need to be cooked.
  43. Add a few Brazil nuts to your diet. It’s one of the few foods high in selenium, which is good for your hormones and your thyroid.
  44. Buy good salt. Good salt can add dozens of minerals to your diet. One jar of Himalayan sea salt can last a year.
  45. Avoid Teflon. If you must cook with Teflon, never ever place metal into the pan. I cook with cast iron.
  46. Rice has very little nutritional value, but isn’t unhealthy either. Use sparingly.
  47. Stay late or go at the end of Farmer’s Markets. They’ll often give out last minute deals to clear out inventory.
  48. Put paper towels on the edges of your fridge’s veggie drawer. It’ll draw the moisture and preserve your greens.
  49. Spinach wilted? As long as it doesn’t smell bad, you can still cook it and it will be just as good.
  50. Check Meetup.com for organic potlucks and meetups. They can be a fun way to add variety to your diet!

A full guide to transitioning to clean eating will be available in my book soon!

 

Dangers of Emotional Eating

Dangers of Emotional Eating

There a number of unhealthy habits that can develop over time if you are not mindful of your eating habits. One very easy unhealthy habit to fall into is emotional eating. This can go unnoticed because it’s not widely thought of as dangerous compared to other life threatening habits such as illegal drug use, and many can easily find excuses for it like saying they can simply “exercise more later.” How serious is this issue? Can eating habits really be a danger to you? We’ll be exploring some of these that in the following article.

Awareness is Key

Emotional eating usually hits very suddenly out of nowhere and seeks out specific cravings to be filled. Often times these powerful cravings are for sugar and fat filled snacks because of the powerful rush of dopamine that turns on the reward and pleasure centers of the brain after consumption. Eating like this repeatedly eventually overrides the signals of hunger and satiety. Seeking out comfort food and this kind of gratification leads to overeating and morbid obesity. Children can also develop early obesity when they learn this type of self-soothing. Many snack foods (especially candy and baked goods) are marketed to children. Some other snacks are associated with memories of fun times, childhood, or loved ones. Unfortunately, the methods that are used to produce foods of these foods typically contain high levels of salt, sugars, fats, artificial colors and preservative agents.

It is an Unhealthy Way to Cope with Emotions

Emotional eating is often used as a way to avoid dealing with complex or negative emotions. Not every trigger will be the same for each person, but these could include a range of emotions and feelings including anxiety, boredom, loneliness, disgust, sadness, and even joy. The emotional danger is the continued neglect of the real reasons behind these emotions. A feeling of shame or guilt might follow binges. This is especially true when the behavior is hidden from friends or family. Seek professional help, or tell a trusted friend or relative if you feel isolated or lonely and are forming unhealthy eating habits.

There are Health Risks

If a person uses eating as a way to escape or distract their emotions, a vicious cycle can develop. For example, a person who seeks food to cope with stress will create a paradox where weight-related health issues arise like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and back or joint pain. Beyond the difficulties surrounding obesity,  other health issues such as insomnia, anxiety, malnutrition, digestive problems, menstrual problems, and depression can develop.

Tips to overcome Emotional Eating

If you are overeating and appear to be experiencing any of these symptoms or health problems, it is never too late to make a new choice. After tapping into your support system, here are a few other ways to get back on track:

  • Keep a food diary – even if you use an online one like https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
  • Tame your stress – be intentional about your stress relieving activities. Find some ideas for creating a stress-free environment here
  • Remove temptation – Don’t have a cupboard full of junk food and do not go grocery shopping until your emotions are in check
  • Have healthy options on hand – When you feel the urge to snack in between meals, have something good and healthy like fruit, nuts, vegetables, or lower calorie versions of your favorite snacks
  • Give yourself a break – Don’t punish or deprive yourself. Even if you make a mistake—forgive yourself and recommit to start fresh again. Learn from your experience and plan to do better. Let your support system know that you are serious about changing it and ask for their assistance when needed.
  • Resources:
    Mood, food and obesity. Frontiers in Psychology. September 1, 2014.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150387/
  • Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047342?pg=2