A Word About Fats

I am going to share with you something that I didn’t know until recently.  The dangers of low fat/fat free processed foods.   Low fat/fat free processed foods are not as healthy as they seem.  You see, in order to take the fat out of a naturally fatty food like milk,  They need to add chemicals to do so.  Then, they add a ton of sugar and more carcinogenic  thickeners like carrageenan to mimic the taste of the high fat product.  Don’t think you are safe from sugar free/fat free products.  They just add chemical sweeteners like aspartame.  Sounds pretty nasty huh?  Yeah, I thought so too.

So lets talk about fats.  Saturated fats and trans fats are bad.  Try to cut them out as much as possible.  Monounsaturated fats have been known to help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol)  and possibly even raise HDL ( the good cholesterol) although, that is still being debated.  Polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6) have been proven to lower your heart attack risk and prevent cardiovascular disease.  You can find Omega 3s in walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, and for non vegans, salmon.  You can find Omega 6s in grains, cereals and vegetable oils.
Fats help fight inflammation.  Fats keep your skin glowing and your hair shining.  Fats can be your friend! 🙂  I am not saying that you can go eat a whole jar of almond butter.  I know at times I would love to do that, but everything is in moderation. 🙂

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Easy Roasted Seasonal Vegetables

Who doesn’t love the fall?  We have the beautiful colors, the cooler air (although not here in Texas yet) and the delicious food!  I just love when we get a co-op basket.  To find out more about the co-op click here.  It is like Christmas morning.  You just never know what you are going to get.  This week, when I saw we got beets and parsnips, I knew I was going to roast them.  They are naturally sweet and roasting just brings out the flavor even more.  It also makes a pretty dish.

Ours was devoured as soon as it came out of the oven! 🙂 What are some of your favorite roasted vegetables?

Easy Roasted Seasonal Fall Vegetables

Easy Roasted Seasonal Vegetables

4 hrPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

5 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3-4 beets remove greens, peel and roughly chop
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3-4 parsnips peeled and cut into coin pieces
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T Balsamic
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Throw everything into a zip lock bag and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. 
  2. I think we did for about 3 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 and spread the mixture onto a baking sheet. 
  4. Bake for about 45-60 minutes until veggies come out tender.
http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/10/16/seasonal-roasted-vegetables/

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Common Food Additives in Processed Foods

Besides large amounts of sugar and sodium, Big Food companies love to add unnecessary additives to their foods.  Think about it.  They produce foods that have a very long shelf life and some are designed to NEVER rot.  That can’t be safe for human consumption. The FDA will try to tell you they are safe, but they admit here that they are not testing enough. The most commonly used additives are:

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

This is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese foods, soups and other processed foods.  MSG, in various studies, has been linked to obesity, asthma and behavioral problems in children.

Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame and Saccharine)

Don’t think you are safe drinking a diet soda.  They, and many lowfat, fat free and no sugar  products contain these artificial sweeteners.  The FDA will try to tell you they are safe, but many symptoms have been linked to the artificial sweeteners, such as, tumors, diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) BHA ( Butylated  Hydroxyanisole)

This is an anti oxidant that companies add to food to help preserve taste and color.  It is most cereals, bars and also beauty products.  BHT has been linked to cancer, allergies and abdominal problems.

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is found in almost all meat and dairy products. For a list of products that do and do not contain carrageenan please click here. It is used by food companies as a stabilizer and also to thicken.  Even some foods that claim to be healthy contain it.  That surprised me the most.  Recently, it has been linked to cancer, especially colon cancer.  Some of the studies are inconclusive, but I feel there needs to be more research done before I decide to put it into my body.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

When you start reading labels, you will find that HFCS is in almost all processed foods, even foods that you would not add sugar to.  Such as ketchups, dressings, mac and cheese and most processed breads and cereals.  Companies add it because it is a cheap filler.  Cheaper than table sugar actually.  It has been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure.  If you cut out all processed foods, you find that you will lose weight without even dieting.  My husband and I did.  People just don’t realize the extra amount of sugar that is in processed foods.  If I was going to make mac and cheese from scratch, the recipe would not call for sugar.  It can be made without.

Trans Fats

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Trans fats are extremely dangerous and fatty.  They are created by hydrogenating oils creating even more unhealthy fats.  Trans fats are found in many processed and deep fried foods because they help increase their shelf life.  It is important to note that even though a products claims 0 trans fats, they could still contain some.  Certain additives, like mono and diglyceride are not grown, but rather, manufactured and do not have to be classified as trans fats even though they are.  These food makers have become very sneaky and know exactly what they need to do to get around labeling. You can read more on that here.

Sodium Nitrate

SAMSUNG

Sodium nitrate is found in a lot of processed meats.  It is used as a preservative and also as a colorant.  Consumption of sodium nitrate in processed meat can be a contributing factor to heart disease.  You can read more on that here.  In addition to heart disease, sodium nitrate has been linked to pancreatic cancer.  In 2005, 200,000 men and women were studied over the course of 7 years.  The study showed that those who ate a diet that included processed meats were 67% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.  Scary.  You can read that here.

Potassium Bromate

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Potassium bromate is used to create volume in processed breads.  In laboratory studies, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals.  You are better off to avoid this.

For another post on additives to avoid, you can read 7 Gross Ingredients You Have Probably Eaten.

 

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Healthy Tropical Smoothie Peanut Paradise

I don’t know about you, but I LOVED Tropical Smoothie when I lived in Vegas.  I think I used to get one every week.  I would always get the peanut paradise because who doesn’t love peanut butter and bananas together? So one day I actually decided to look through the nutritional info they have at the counter.  I could not believe it!  It had 800 calories!  So, I decided to make my own version.  Mine only contains 315 calories and is super easy to make.

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I feed this to my daughter for breakfast sometimes and add the flax.  She has no idea she is eating something healthy!

What is your favorite Tropical Smoothie flavor?

Healthy Tropical Smoothie Peanut Paradise

Healthy Tropical Smoothie Peanut Paradise

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 T fresh ground peanut butter ( I use Sprouts Organic)
  • 2/3 cup non dairy milk ( I use homemade almond milk , but soy would work fine too.)
  • If you wanted to make it even more healthy, you could add 1 T flax meal

Instructions

  1. Blend everything in a magic bullet until you get the consistency you desire.  I like mine thick so I can eat it with a spoon.  Sometimes, if I feel like getting crazy, I will through in some chocolate chips.
http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/10/15/healthy-tropical-smoothie-peanut-paradise/

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Hope you aren’t sick of pumpkin yet, because these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes are delicious.  Full of flavor with very little sugar.  The secret is that if you add enough flavor through the spices and vanilla, they will trick your mind into thinking you are eating something sweeter than it is.   Even your kids will love them.  My kids devour these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes.   Plus, they took almost no time to make.  I actually mixed the dry ingredients the night before.  That way, I could easily make them up in the morning.  Who doesn’t like fresh pancakes for breakfast?  Plus they make your house smell amazing!

pancakes 1 copy

These pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes are vegan, dairy free and egg free.  I hope you enjoy them.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Yields 10-12 pancakes

Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Spelt Pancakes

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a food processor , mix the milk, pumpkin, oil and egg until well combined. 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, spices, vanilla and salt. 
  3. Stir dry into wet being careful not to over mix. 
  4. Fold in chocolate chips or any other ingredients you may want to add.  Pecans or almonds might be good too.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter into a lightly oiled pan and spread it out slightly with a spatula. 
  6. When you see the edges get brown, flip the pancakes over for another few minutes.

Notes

This should make about 10-12 pancakes. Don’t worry about trying to eat them all at once. If you don’t, you can just freeze them in a zip lock bag and they should stay fresh for quite some time.

http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/10/13/pumpkin-spiced-chocolate-chip-spelt-pancakes/

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Tempeh Vegetable Stir Fry

Stir fries are a great way to use up any veggies from the fridge that may be going bad.  They don’t take long to make.  Often, I will cut the veggies the day before so all I have to do is throw everything in the pan for a few minutes. We also make a big batch of the sauce and refrigerate what we don’t use.  The sauce keeps for quite a while in a air tight container.

For those of you that don’t know what tempeh is (I didn’t until 6 months ago),  it is made from soybeans.  Unlike tofu, which is airy and spongy, it is made from fermented whole soybeans which are packed into a cake like form.  It has an earthy, nutty like flavor.  It packs twice the amount of fiber and protein than tofu does.

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It is my favorite vegan protein.

Vegetable Stir Fry

Tempeh Vegetable Stir Fry

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 pkg tempeh (Please try to buy orgainic. Soybeans are usually filled with GMOs)
  • 1 large head of broccoli stalk removed (My 3 yr old calls them little trees)
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 1 bell pepper cut into thin sliced
  • 1 pkg mushrooms
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup organic soy sauce (I use SanJ Organic Shoyu)
  • 2 T mirin
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp umaboshi vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp garlic

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Use a small amount for the stir fry. A little goes a long way.
  2. Heat a large pan.
  3. Add the toasted sesame tempeh and mushrooms.
  4. Cook for a couple minutes until the edges are brown and the mushrooms start to soften.
  5. Add the remaining veggies and the stir fry sauce.
  6. Feel free to add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like.
  7. Cover and cook on med low until all the veggies soften and the sauce has been incorporated. About 7 minutes.
  8. I usually cook some wild rice in the rice cooker to make this meal last longer. Enjoy! 🙂
http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/10/12/tempeh-vegetable-stir-fry/

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