Tag Archives: healthy

It’s Just A Half Hour, Right? Not If It’s A Power Half Hour!


And, especially if it’s a DVD called “Power Half Hour” from The Firm!

Power Half Hour

I love The Firm workouts! Actually, I used to. Couple of years ago I did them regularly. Felt FANTASTIC. Lost weight, built muscle. Got pregnant. (Coincidence? Hmmm…). Haven’t worked out since.

Off and on I’ve tried to get back to that commitment to exercising, but haven’t been able to. Two days ago, I was inspired to try exercising again. Did about 15 minutes of Zumba with my Wii (thanks Mom!) and then pulled out this DVD. Made it less than 10 minutes, then I was DONE. And yet, I could barely walk yesterday. Yikes.

Tried again today. Here were some of the thoughts going through my head:



“Oh darn. These aren’t 5 lb. weights. They’re only 3 lbs.”

“Ooh…I like squats!”

“5 lb. weights are heavy. Hope I don’t hit my head doing these overhead presses.”

“I do not have to give her more power. I do not have to give her more power.”

“I also do not have to give her air. Straddle jumps were soooo high school cheerleading practice.”

“Ten more minutes? TEN MORE MINUTES!”

“What are you going to do for ten minutes if you don’t do this?”

“If I’m in a plie, my right elbow does not touch my left knee. It used to. Darn.”

“Yay, it’s time to stretch!”

“So glad I hung in for the last ten minutes because it was really only EIGHT minutes until it was time to stretch.”

“Oh good…now I can eat my BK onion rings.”



A Very Veggie World from Country Crock


Country Crock is offering a free downloadable recipe book titled A Very Veggie World.

A Very Veggie World

Cover Photo of Country Crock's A Very Veggie World

It has 25 fun things to create with your veggies such as Mushroom Gnomes

 and Bear Paws.

Bear Paws from Country Crock's A Very Veggie World

Very cute ideas I’ll have to try.

Although, I have to confess that no matter how it looks, I don’t think I can eat brussel sprouts. (Shh! Don’t tell my kids.)

Molecular Model Brussel Sprouts from Country Crock's A Very Veggie World

Get your own copy here.

Please don’t “Super Size Me” and Bye Bye Chicken McNuggets!


My family has officially said goodbye to McDonald’s. (Healthy Point)

Now, before you roll your eyes and think I’m the bandwagon-y type, let me walk you through the steps that brought us to that decision.

Step 1: What’s In A Nugget? (Not foam, by the way)nuggets

Back on March 2, I actually drafted a post that went like this:

Yes, I feed my kids McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Yes, I’ve heard they’re really not that healthy for kids. But I like Happy Meals – they’re so convenient and McDonald’s has even recently made apples a regular part of the Meals so you no longer have to choose between apples or fries (I believe Burger King still makes you pay extra if you choose apple fingers!). Plus, sometimes they have really neat toys in them.

But today, I got an email from Dr. Mercola at Mercola.com with an article entitled “The Chicken Which Should Be Banned” (article dated 11/08/2010). It begins this way:

Do you put dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent made of silicone, in your chicken dishes?

How about tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you?

These are just two of the ingredients in a McDonalds Chicken McNugget. Only 50 percent of a McNugget is actually chicken. The other 50 percent includes corn derivatives, sugars, leavening agents and completely synthetic ingredients.

The rest of the article is pretty scary sounding and frankly I didn’t read it all in detail. I don’t want my changes to guided by fear. What I take away from this, though, is the reminder of my desire, based on much of what I’ve been reading and hearing, to move towards a more natural, less-processed way of eating.

I can’t remember why I didn’t publish this post. Must have just forgotten. In the meantime, I told the kids they’re no longer eating McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets because it has foam in it. Oops! My mistake. Still, it sufficiently grossed out my oldest enough to agree with me, which was kind of a surprise.

Step 2: It’ll Just Be Easier (or not)

A couple of Sundays ago, the family went for a drive so I could meet up with a woman who is an Independent Representative with Wildtree. (If you haven’t heard of Wildtree, it’s a direct sales company that offers all-natural foods with no preservatives, additives, MSG, fillers or food dyes.) I had ordered a few items from her and was picking them up to save on shipping costs. We sat and chatted for a while – a great conversation about how to help our families by starting with small healthy changes.

By the time we ran some other errands and were ready to go home, it was late in the afternoon and the kids were tired and hungry. I had promised them some Wildtree fudge sauce, along with ice cream, for dessert. So, I did some quick calculating:

Hour drive home + Minimum half hour before sitting down to dinner + Dessert + Baths = Up past bedtime!

So what executive decision did I make?

McDonald’s Drive Thru + Eat it in the car + Dessert as soon as we get home + Bath = In bed on time!

We were good to go. With the rally cry of “No Chicken McNuggets!” we found a McDonald’s and headed home.

Hah! “Good to go” is hardly how things turned out.

That night, the two oldest were vomiting. Multiple times. The oldest had chills and aches so it wasn’t just the food. Not sure about the second because there were no other symptoms except the vomiting. BOTH of them, however, said, Mommy I don’t want to eat McDonald’s ever again.

Step 3: Romantic Evening with the Husband

A few nights later we decided to watch Super Size Me on TV. (It’s on Hulu, by the way.) I can’t say that the movie was earth-shattering but that could be because we watched it so long after there has already been so much public discussion about it. Still, I came away with these thoughts:

  • That’s a whole lot of McDonald’s in Manhattan. But have you ever counted the number of ABC stores in Waikiki?
  • I really didn’t need to see anyone else vomiting. Had enough of that up close and personal.
  • Sometimes it seemed like he had more drinks than necessary at some meals. Was that for a later meal? For someone else?
  • He was a lean guy and as he gained weight it was noticeable but didn’t look unusual to me. Makes me think that my standard of what people look like is low. I mean, I have friends who look the way he does, probably carrying extra weight that isn’t healthy, and I don’t think twice about it.
  • I was astounded by the effects on his cholesterol levels. I found that most disturbing because I think of what my kids cholesterol levels must be, plus mine and my husbands.
  • I am mostly sickened by the idea of what parts of the chicken are in Chicken McNuggets. Or more accurately, the fact that there isn’t any part of the chicken that isn’t in it!


Forget about any other reasons except for this:

We don’t have to eat McDonald’s foods. We always have a choice. And if we are choosing to live a healthier life, McDonald’s doesn’t have a place in it.

Doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not craving my standard Filet-O-Fish for Lenten Friday lunch…

Recipe Makeover: Grilled Ham and Cheese


Trying to make small changes in our lives, I tried a new version of grilled ham and cheese a few weeks ago. I actually got the idea from my Betty Crocker app on my phone.

Normally, I would make grilled ham and cheese with the following ingredients:

  • White Bread (hopefully the kind sans HFCS if I saw it at the supermarket)
  • Kraft American Cheese
  • Hillshire Farm Deli Ham

Here’s how I would make it:

  • Heat the skillet with butter on it and place pairs of bread on it, with the cheese on one side of each pair.
  • Put the ham on another part of the grill until it gets sizzly and slightly brown. Then, place it on the slice with the cheese, get its pair and place that on top.
  • At this point, it never seems like there’s enough butter on the bread, so I add more to the skillet. Or, if the bread is soft enough, I put it directly on the bread. Basically, I use enough better to get that good golden brown color on each side because that’s the best part!

Done. Serve with chips or Ore Ida fries I baked in the oven. And maybe cherry tomatoes if we have them.

My new and improved version includes the following:

  • Texas Toast (Okay, I know this isn’t the healthiest = Not Healthy Point. But my friend Betty, as in Crocker, recommended it and boy do we love garlic bread!)
  • Baked ham slices from the freezer, leftover from the holiday
  • Cheese from the deli (The husband, not too long before this had realized that Kraft American Cheese says “cheese product” and went to the supermarket deli to get real cheese. Not sure exactly what kind it is but Healthy Point to him for making the effort!)

So, I assembled the sandwiches and put them in the oven to bake.

OH! And lest I forget. I made sweet potato fries to go with it! My second child actually chopped them up for me and did a fabulous job. The recipe I followed for that (yeah, I know…who needs a recipe to make sweet potato fries?) said to put the sweet potatoes on a foil-covered pan. Not sure if that was the problem, or what, but the fries quickly started burn although I managed to salvage them.

I thought I’d share a photo but didn’t remember to take it until after I dished out the fries, so the bowl of fries looks a little skimpy. Plus, apparently I’m not much of a food photographer. Other blog’s food photos are so pretty! But, you get the point.

Everyone loved the sandwiches. Kids hated the sweet potato fries. Only ate them while smothered in ketchup, which of course was the kind with HFCS.

But still, I thought it was a good effort on everyone’s part. Next time, I’ll try to make the bread healthier.

Healthy Point!

The New Beauty Revolution Telesummit


I just listened in on an interview with Raquel Reyna, the organizer of The New Beauty Revolution telesummit (Healthy Point). I don’t know very much about her having found the telesummit via Andrea Nakayama’s Replenish PDX newsletter (she’ll be speaking on March 29th – more about her in another post hopefully). From what I’ve read, she is an emotional eating expert and owner of EndTheDietWar.com, who works with women to help them lose weight.

The title of the talk was “Fulfill Your Cravings” and the description of it stated one could learn how to “Naturally lose your craving for food” and “Seed your craving for deeper meaning”. Putting the kids to bed, I logged in late to the call so I missed probably about 15 minutes of it. From what I heard, it didn’t seem to me that she specifically addressed these points, although again I could have missed. I’m still glad, though, that I listened.

Raquel Reyna has this very kind, calm, soothing way of speaking. She spoke of how weight loss and health has everything to do with how we think about ourselves and our bodies. Similarly, how we care for ourselves and our bodies affects how well we can love and live. And that loving our bodies is so powerful in making the changes we want and need.

She took some time to lead the listeners in experiencing what she called a “sacred moment”. Experiencing the now, paying attention to our bodies – both how they feel internally and externally. She led a short kind of guided imagery of being aware of what your body does in order to get up and get some water from the refrigerator.

She spoke of being in the moment, feeling our bodies and listening to them and being centered. She suggested thinking about where we might feel stuck in our lives – whether its a relationship, career, finances, spirituality — and then said to listen to our bodies and it will know where to go and what path to take, whether it’s cleaning the closet, paying a bill, giving up alcohol, changing a relationship.

The talk was inspiring especially because she is so passionate about what she believes, based on what she has experienced and what she knows can happen for others.

I look forward to listening to more talks. They run through March 30. If you’re interested in listening in, you can sign up here.

Field Trip! to Lilley’s Farm


In an effort to “eat seasonally, eat locally”, I checked out LocalHarvest.org to find my local farmer’s market. Most farmer’s markets are only open Spring through Fall. But, online I happened upon the nearby Lilley’s Farm which was holding a Winter Market Day this past Saturday. So, we piled the kids in the car and took the short trip. It was early afternoon on a beautiful day and most people had already made their trip to the farm. By the time we arrived pretty much the only thing left for sale was…KALE! I’m sensing a theme in my life. The kids were most unhappy.

There were actually three types of kale, which were grown in the farm’s unheated greenhouse. One was the kind normally found at a supermarket. The second was an Italian variety. I can’t remember the name of the third type. The very friendly owner offered that the latter two types have a stronger flavor, so I bought two bunches (Healthy Point) of the first type for $7.00. There were also fresh eggs at $4/dozen but the husband had just purchased a bunch of eggs at Sam’s Club, so I decided to pass.

We didn’t see much of the farm itself, but right next to the produce shed were chickens! Boy, are they noisy and if you’ve never heard a baby try to sound like a chicken, you’re missing out. It’s hilarious. The kids all got a kick out of seeing them but I had nudge the oldest a couple of times — I don’t think it’s proper etiquette to talk about eating chickens in front of chickens!!

Lilley’s Farm has another Winter Market Day on April 7. Not sure if we’ll make that one but we plan to return in the summer and hopefully find yummies that the kids will enjoy (other than chicken!).

On the way home, we stopped at a playground for some fresh air and fun. (Healthy Point) It was a good, healthy day. (Another Healthy Point!)

Salty Food Cravings


I had a banana for breakfast this morning (Healthy Point), although not much else. Hungry for something else naturally, I discovered the leftover sweet potato fries I made for dinner the other night (kids hated them, of course). And as I was eating them, I was thinking about the salty food cravings I’ve been having in the middle of the day. I’ve always been a fan of salty snacks much more than sweets. But it seems in the last couple of months that these salty cravings, particularly during the day, have increased (remember the bag of chips yesterday?).

Then, I opened an email today from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Why I get these emails is a subject for another day but I do enjoy these friendly emails from Emily (no, I don’t know her personally but she always sounds so perky!). The subject of the email is “Salty or Sweet? Two Tasty Recipes Inside!” (I told you she’s perky) and part of the email reads:

You’ll probably be surprised to learn that cravings for:

•    salty foods could be caused by mineral deficiency
•    bitter foods could be caused by digestive issues
•    spicy foods could be caused by poor circulation
•    creamy foods could be caused by a need for comfort
•    sweet foods could be caused by stress or a lack of energy


Speaking of points…


Okay, I’m just going to say it. I basically skipped breakfast – a couple of cherry tomatoes but that’s it. Not Healthy Point. Went to the dollar store for non-food items. Came out with two bags of tortilla chips – heck, they’re only a dollar each! Decided to have chips with melted cheese for breakfast/lunch. Had more. And more. And the bag is empty. (Although they’re not full-sized bags, they’re bigger than those lunchbox-size bags). Another Not Healthy Point.

To balance that out, though, I’m giving myself a Healthy Point because I made Italian bread pizza for dinner last night! And, it was my second night in a row making dinner…another Healthy Point. Hurray for me! And the score, conveniently, is tied.

The Scoreboard


I’ve decided to add a scoreboard – you’ll see it to the right. Nothing fancy. The purpose? Simple. To keep score of how I’m doing. Here are some guidelines:

  • Points are completely subjective. I can add a point in either category for any reason.
  • Only one point given at a time. No adding a zillion points just because I’m having an awesome day!
  • When I give a point, I’ll note it in a post and tag that post “Scoreboard”.
  • Once I give a point, in either category, I will not take any points away for any reason. Say, for example, I decide what I did actually was healthy even though I marked it not healthy. I’m not going to take a point away from “not health” and put one in “healthy”.  That’ll just be too confusing. However,  I might just add an extra point to the healthy side to make up for it. My rules, right?
  • I welcome points from others! If you think I deserve a point in either category, feel free to comment and explain. I’ll try not to argue with you about it and add the point accordingly. But please be nice. I’m rather sensitive. And if it’s starts to become unfriendly or plain out mean, I won’t do it anymore.

That’s it!