Happy Fall everyone and blessings this weekend! I just wanted to share one of my favorite Fall dishes that’s loaded with flavor and tons of nutrients! Stop over to my new site at Freedom At The Crossroads , for the complete recipe!
We all know how expensive groceries can become especially when you move between seasons or making a huge shift in how you feed yourself and your family.
Making healthy nutritional choices doesn’t have to break the bank nor does it have to become an overwhelming experience. While you might think you’re saving money (i.e. buying processed foods instead of fresh produce, etc) by not buying organic and locally sourced produce (get my FREE quick and easy grocery guide for the EWG recommendations for produce in 2017), or stocking up on frozen meals, the truth is that the hidden health costs associated with these types of low quality “foods” are extremely high.
Don’t be deceived by marketing gimmicks and misinformation campaigns promoted by both big agribusiness and the processed food industry. Labels on our foods matter and so do the methods of food production. Foods that have been cultivated using conventional means (i.e. large-scale pesticide and herbicide use, etc) are much more likely to contain damaging levels of these residues. We as consumers can not rely on these industries to “self-regulate” as their track records have shown them to be less than honest when it comes to putting consumer safety and health above their stock portfolios.
Also, while the FDA and USDA have traditionally been the only real advocate for consumers, both agencies have been severely hindered and compromised by lobbying interests as well as well-crafted efforts to defund these agencies in an effort to misinform the public regarding our food sources, what’s in our foods, labeling practices by the processed food industry and big agribusiness.
The reality is this: what food you put in your mouth will either poison or nourish your body, depending on where it comes from. If it comes from a country with no or poorly standardized food safety requirements (i.e. mercury levels in fish, pesticide use in produce, additives in frozen, processed and or packaged foods, etc), YOU need to SERIOUSLY rethink your food choices!!
Part of being able to feed your family with safe nutritious foods means you must adopt a sustainable way of accessing the right foods for your table. In practical terms, that means finding ways to minimize waste and unnecessary costs due to spoilage and improper food storage.
With that in mind here are a few quick tips:
1. Store dairy products at the back of the fridge. While it may make for easy access, keeping your milk at the front of the fridge makes it more prone to spoilage due to temperature differences. This is because the back of the fridge is colder and will, therefore, give your dairy products are longer shelf life.
2. Place your meats on the bottom shelf so that their juices do not drip on other food items (i.e. produce, etc) and contaminate them. If space is an issue, place your meat products on a tray or inside a leak-proof container in order to catch any drippings. Better yet, prep and package your meats into manageable portions (i.e. serving sizes for soups, meals, etc) and then store them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook your meals. Also, separate lunch meats from raw meats in order to prevent illness associated with cross-contamination.
3. Like any other plant, well-hydrated herbs will last longer and be less likely to spoil when you store them properly. Fresh herbs, like basil, asparagus, and green onions will last a good while if you store them upright in a jar of fresh water. Simply trim the stems, cover them with a piece of plastic wrap, and place them in the refrigerator for storage and use as needed.
4. Be aware of where to store fruits and vegetables. Not all fruits and veggies require refrigeration and in some instances, refrigeration affects the taste quality of some fruits and vegetables. For instance, avocados (yes, technically it’s a fruit because it has a seed y’all), citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes do best outside of your fridge at room temperature or in your pantry. A quick warning though; don’t store onions and potatoes together due to the ethylene gas which can cause them to spoil each other faster.
5. I’ve been doing this for years ( thanks, momma), but did you know it really helps when you wrap your greens in paper towels. They’re great at preventing slimy residue from accumulating and making a science experiment in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens. Simply use paper towels to soak up excess moisture and lightly wrap your green in a few paper towels. This also works for leftover salad greens in food storage containers (minus the salad dressing of course).
6. Cover the crown of your bunches of bananas with plastic wrap. It helps to slow the release of that ethylene gas which is the meany responsible for breaking (the natural process that causes your produce to spoil) down one of my go-to mid-morning snacks. This is a good way to preserve your bananas if you’re not going to eat them right away.
7. Did you know wrapping your bunches of celery in foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to as much as four weeks? Yep, wrapping it up in foil and then placing it in your fridge’s crisper drawer will help extend the life of your celery. The foil does this by allowing just the right amount of moisture in, and the ethylene gas out.
8. Stop! Don’t wash all your produce at once. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s much better to wash your produce as you go if you want to maximize its shelf life. Unless you plan on freezing your food, you should only be washing things you’re ready to eat right away or soon after. This will reduce the chances of mold growing on damp produce.
9. Another “who’d a thunk it?” If you want to keep those berries mold free, soak them in vinegar. If you’re not going to consume them all at once, simply quick soak your berries in a solution of three parts water, one part vinegar in order to kill bacteria and prevent molding. Once you’ve done that, give the berries a thorough pat dry and store in the fridge.
10. Another great time saver and a great way to preserve your veggies to simply roast them prior to storage. By roasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, you can extend their shelf life. Not only that, it’s also a great meal prep tip to have cooked veggies on hand that you can quickly incorporate into any meal.
11. I can say this enough! Store grains in air-tight containers!! While buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, you want to make sure that you store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. It’s critical that you make sure to transfer your grains into an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep those pesky bugs away. Do yourself a favor by labeling your containers with the purchase dates so you’re able to keep track of expiration dates and avoid wasting stored foods.
12. Always Double-check your fridge’s temperature especially as the seasons’ change (i.e. summer vs. winter months). You want to make sure that your fridge is set at the correct temperature and that your thermostat is in proper working order to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food born illnesses. The recommended temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degree Celsius for those of you who are using the mks measurement system.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, grab my FREE Pantry Detox Gude GUIDE HERE
For the complete Introductory Produce, Shopping Guide grab a copy HERE!!
People often ask me why I’m so obsessed about seeds and nuts and I could rattle off a whole slew of information (see sources below) about why they’re so great. After watching their eyes invariably glaze over from information overload, I’ve since discovered that less is more, and simplicity is a gem worth appreciating. The simple answer lays in the fact that we (meaning homo Sapiens) are at our optimal health and fitness when we adhere to a diet that is both diverse and nutritionally dense. This is in both the historic and evolutionary record ( I won’t bore you with the details) as well as the current health crisis many in the industrialized (as well as underdeveloped nations) are facing in terms of ever-increasing numbers of diabetes, cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases.
It is no small coincidence that our propensity for, and our over indulgence in so-called “quick” and “processed” foods have a strong connection or link to the incidence of the above mentioned diseases and associated syndromes. The bottom line, is that processed foods, our dependency on them, coupled with a lack of adequate exercise (daily), has brought us to the brink of a near pandemic. Add to that unsustainable environmental and agricultural practices, and a grime picture begins to unfold for the human race; but a solution for one problem at a time please.
In simple terms, nuts can be defined as “small dry hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell an interior kernel” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition). A much more detailed definition is provided by the National Institutes of Health (see National Institutes of Health website) which states that nuts are “nutrient dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty and other bioactive compounds: high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds.” Translation? nuts constitute a dense powerhouse store of complete nutrients (i.e. fats, fibre, carbohydrates, etc).
All that being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While nuts are nutrient dense, they do contain fat and that means you must balance their intake with other sources of vital nutrients that contain fewer calories as well as fats. The key take away here is “BALANCE”; in terms of nutritional intake (i.e. amount per serving, etc) as well as lin proportion to other nutrient sources. For instance, a balanced intake of nuts (and or seeds, i.e. sunflower walnuts) at one sitting relative to other nutrient sources, would be equivalent to 1/3/ cup or 1 and 1/2 oz of nuts 3-4 servings per week for a 1,600 calorie diet and 4-5 servings per week for a 2,000 calorie diet (American Heart Association: 2013 Healthy Diet recommendations;Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC).
While similar to seeds in terms of nutrient content, seeds are, in simple terms, the embryonic stage of a plant housed in a protective outer shell or hull. The dietary guidelines for seeds are similar to those for nuts, but the caveat remains the same; balance, balance, balance, is the mantra we should all stick to when it comes to nutrition, health (mind-body) and fitness. Why am I pushing them? I’m a firm believer in balance and the pivotal role it plays in our health and fitness within the context of a healthy and free lifestyle. My own personal experience alone has driven home the inherent power of a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet; not only that, from a physical fitness perspective, a poor diet will doom you to failure and injury (i.e. failing to fuel your body the nutrients required for both recovery and muscle growth).
From a female perspective, I’ve come to learn the importance of incorporating dietary balance into my daily regime as a means of negating undesirable effects of changes in hormonal levels, stress, and illness recovery. While nutrition and fitness alone can not wholly stave off the negative impacts of illness, disease, time, and so forth, they are powerful resources in our arsenal that are available to help us achieve optimum fitness, health, and the freedom to pursue our goals and passions.
Remember, getting fit and healthy requires that you first make the decision, develop a plan, and take action. For more information as well as assistance regarding how to get started on your journey, join the FitTribe of fellow women who are getting stronger everyday!
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Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk.” Circulation, vol. 129, no. 25 suppl 2, Dec. 2013, doi:10.1161/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.
Ros, Emilio. “Health Benefits of Nut Consumption.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3257681/.
Your food and you!…
So it’s a new day, a new season, and with all of that comes a whole new set challenges. The fall season kicks off the hustle and bustle of preparing for upcoming holidays and the stress of all those unwelcome bills that come with multiple gift buying, household preparations, and travel expenses. So how do you STILL fit in a healthy eating and fitness plan? Well, you simply stick to the P.L.A.N. and remain focused on your goals (i.e. living a balanced and healthy lifestyle,etc).
I’m not saying there are no challenges in maintaining your health and fitness goals, but it is more than possible to be aware of what you’re eating, finding and using your “me” time to work out (it’s also an excellent way to deal with stress), and staying balanced in all (or most) areas of your life. Experience has taught me that the best way to do this, is by taking a step back and finding joy in the little things-a crisp sunny Fall day, an invigorating walk along the trails, or simply enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee on the front porch (backyard, on the veranda, in front of your balcony, etc).
For the everyday woman who’s life is at the crossroads and who feels like she needs not just her health and fitness in balance, but life in general, I say, WELCOME! I have found that every woman is unique in terms of her story and her needs, especially at the “crossroads”. Why? The answer is relatively simple. The needs of a woman who is already stressed, out of balance both physically and mentally (i.e. overweight, frustrated, overwhelmed) is different from one who has her career, obligations, and family on track, etc but just needs “some” help losing a few pounds and leaning how to eat healthy!
The sad truth is that most of us women (especially if you haven’t seen 30 in a min😜) struggle with a chaotic and unhealthy life, but rather than valuing ourselves enough to change it, we choose for one reason or another, to stay on that hamster wheel going no where!
We need to admit and own our truth when it comes to our relationship with food and by extension , how we relate and perceive ourselves as well as others. we seem to be ignorant of the fact that FOOD plays an important role in our lives and an important aspect of culture. I guess like so many other things in this high-tech age, this is just one more thing that has become lost in the matrix of ” sameness” perpetuated by a media that serves itself rather than the welfare of society at large.
I’m not saying we bear no responsibility in own health, but I AM saying is that, the media bares some responsibility in terms of pushing “unhealthy” images and ideals of what constitutes beauty, a “healthy weight”, “healthy” foods (i.e. so called fat-free, zero calorie) etc. Our current mainstream media has in large part become the mouth piece of big Agra-business and corporations more interested in their bottomless than the wellbeing of society.
This is why I do what I do! I decided to get active and advocate for women’s health and to empower other women to fight back and reclaim their health, fitness. My goal is for women in my zone of influence to become knowledgeable about their food sources and equip them with the necessary tools to gain control of their health and nutrition. I’ll always remember these wise words of my mom, “knowledge is power” and “the gates of the school-house are still open”!
If You are tired of UN-healthy crap being packaged and marketed to you as healthy, “low” in fat, etc, then get involved and educated about who controls your food- you are what you eat folks! The hard truth is that, if after all that hard work of getting fit and adopting a healthy lifestyle you’re still depending on big Agra-business and the fast food / packaged food industrial machine to give you good (derived from sustainably grown, mostly pesticide free or organic) quality food, dream on. An educated public is an empowered one, and too often that empowerment is in conflict with the bottom line of these corporations.
So what do I do to cut out the crazy and NOT break the bank? I keep it simple. Stick to mostly seasonal produce, buy my produce from local farms, buy organic where necessary (avoid the “dirty dozen”) and get involved in a local or community farm if at all possible. At the end of the day you, and your family are worth the time and effort, believe me! On a side note, my yummy red shrimp pasta dish 👇🏽 did NOT break the bank, contains mostly organic ingredients, and was both healthy and nutritious! #BoomShakaLaka 😜
As always, you can reach me both here and facebook, or just drop me a line…
Okay, okay! Enough about the skincare recommendations! Here’s the thing, your skincare recommendation is only as good as the “person” who’s giving the review 😐😉 My point is, I’m not recommending ANY product that 1. I wouldn’t use myself ( and I’ve got the diva skin to prove it), 2. Can’t back up their claims (i.e. nontoxic, cruelty free, etc) and 3. Community and environmentally friendly!
That’s just my rant I guess, but the bottom line is that you need to investigate or research these products for yourself; realizing that a “recommendation” is just that, a RECOMMENDATION and it’s up to you to fact check this stuff!😉
Not only that, some of the stuff people are “reviewing” is mostly all fluff and no substance and waay over-priced to boot! Granted some of it’s worth it (especially if you have very sensitive skin, etc) but a lot of it just doesn’t past muster💄💲Also, just because it cost an arm and a leg or just your first born child *wink* DOESN’T MEAN IT’S ACTUALLY any good or effective so save your money!💲💲
Bottom line, if you don’t take care of your body from the inside out (eat healthy and nutrient dense foods, exercise, etc) even the most expensive “elixir” on the planet ain’t gonna change that rocky road skin into a baby’s butt; sorry I know the truth hurts sometimes, but there you have it!💄😕
What the frack? It seems everywhere I turn, I’m surrounded by food IN ALL DIRECTIONS!
It’s on tv, in magazines, on just about every street corner and No! We’re NOT talking about
Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s; talking about junk food (ak.a slow poison) masquerading as “viable” nutritional sources-REALLY?!
Yeah I’m on a rant! It’s time WE all pulled our heads out of our collective behinds and realize that there is nothing “convenient” or “fast” (O B V I U O S L Y!) about these so called “restaurant chains” that package death and give you a toy to play with while your insides slowly putrefy from all the grease, left over toxins, and GMO ridden gunk THEY call food.
And WE’RE supposed to believe them when they say they’re “making” changes to use antibiotic-free meats and pesticide-free produce at their “eateries”? Did I mention that’ll kick in in like, maybe 5 years from now? AND in “phases”? Lao on that one! 😉 🙂
Oh let’s not forget, they’re “committed” to helping us eat healthier (a.ka. don’t die on us yet ’cause we need you to continue eating our crap because we need you to drive our profit!) Yeah, riiiight. All you have to do is look around you, at the people in the hospital (if you work in the medical field like me, you see the frightening results on a daily basis), family and friends to know THAT AIN’T WORKING!
So why do we keep looking for short cuts to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle? I know it’s being done in other parts of the world? What I see is that it’s not all black and white, clear cut, or how ever you want to term it.
The ugly truth is that staggering numbers of people in the U.S. are literally STARVING to death, not so much from a lack of food, but a lack of HEALTHY food resources, especially in urban areas where these so called “convenient” restaurants have a monopoly; you’ll see McDonald’s before you see a farmer’s market Whole Foods, and so forth. Thanks to activists like Michael Moore, Robert Kenner (Food INC.), the non-GMO project and others, WE are finally getting it!
The Fast food industry and big agra-business ARE NOT concerned about our health, they’re only interested in ability to drive their profit and so it’s up to US to be our own advocates….time to get educated; our lives and the lives of our loved ones depend on it!
Hands up, if you work long hours! Eating healthy on the go is never easy if you don’t have a plan. But it’s not impossible even if you have no clue where to start. All you need are a few basic healthy, quick and easy meal recipes that you can cycle through during the week. That’s why I’m sharing a favorite seafood sauté and brown rice recipe!
Getting healthy options
For the most part, I think we have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary. Educating yourself about where your food comes from and realizing that healthy means fresh and unprocessed, is half the battle.
There’s hope though! Thanks to sustainable and humane ( organic and local food farming, co-ops, etc) cultivation practices, we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that WE don’t have to break the bank to gain access to pesticide free, sustainably grown, and humanely reared livestock!
After all that, cooking is easy! As I’ve mentioned before, I buy mostly organic foods and stay away from the “dirty dozen” . That means I stay away from those fruits and veggies that tend to get treated with high amounts of pesticides. Also, when I DO eat meat, poultry, or fish I also pay attention to labels, etc.
Seafood sauté and brown rice recipe
Your basic ingredients:-
1. Cup of steamed organic brown rice& quinoa medley (available Sam’s Club, or other retailers)
2. 1/2 cup of organic mini bella mushrooms
3. 2 cups of shredded organic greens (psst! I got mine at traders Joe’s )
4. 1/2 cup of Sea food medley or other protein sources
5. 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon of spices paprika and a pinch of sea salt to taste (you can also subst. 3 table spoons of stock instead)
6. 2 cloves of chopped garlic
7. Garnish with some steamed or blanched peas (this is optional).
Next, sauté your garlic in one tablespoon of cold pressed organic sunflower seed oil ( or any other oil that has a high smoke point) along with the dry ingredients. Then, toss in your brown rice-quinoa mix and veggies with your lightly sautéd seafood medley. To keep your seafood from overcooking, sauté the seafood separately for approx. 5-7mins and then toss everything together and Voila! All done! Yep, it only took me 15mins and I was out the door with a healthy home cooked meal, Boomsies!
Time for some skin indulgence, and it all starts right here with some of my favorite goodies! I love, love, love me some LUSH natural cosmetics and no, I’m not letting any of it fall out of my hands, Ha, resistance is futile y’all! But on a more serious note, I’ll always remember my mom’s constant mantra of “take of skin, and it will take care of you”, “what you eat shows up on your face”, yada yada yada…
Turns out mama was right and thank God I listened! Diet, exercise and nutrition make up the foundation for great glowy and healthy skin; so put away the gimmicks and tricks to hide the evidence of poor nutritional habits and start taking care of YOUR HEALTH! *love these exclamation points by the way* Anyway, did I mention the whole thing about diet, exercise and nutrition? Yeah? Ok GOOD!! There is no short cut to lovely skin, and barring such things as hormonal changes, genetics, etc, REMEMBER: YOUR SKIN IS THE LARGEST ORGAN OF YOUR BODY, get it? Ok now let’s move on to the fun stuff.
I fully admit to being a skincare freak and I’m proud of it so there. The good news is, any one can become a skincare freak by simply educating yourself about your health and nutrition as well as those products that act as nirvana for your particular skin type. Everybody’s skin is different in terms of sensitivities, needs, problem areas, etc.
I Was blessed to have a mom who believed that your skin is a reflection of your internal health and it’s also a “canvas” upon which you express yourself through make up and attitude. So over the years I’ve tried just about every major skincare line and their bargain brands too! I’ve learned to “evolve” on my skincare product choices based on the needs of my skin and the consistency of product integrity. Needless to say, I’ve moved away from major brands that constantly “REFORMULATE” certain products in their skincare lines; it works for them, but most of the time my skin yells “No,No, No”.
I’ve got a long list of favorites but my foundational skincare regime is made of skincare lines that use non synthetic natural products and are NOT constantly changing out formulas! Here’s my go to skincare when I want to “ZEN” out after a long day at work. Not only do these products smell yummy, LUSH is known for their natural ingredients…and on that note, it’s time for my dragon ball bath boom and a cup of my new favorite tea from Teavana; LIFE is GOOD!!!
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