Will The REAL Healthy Snack List Please Stand Up??

If you’re like me you may often find yourself digging through your desk drawer in the afternoon or aimlessly wandering around your kitchen opening and closing cabinets in the evening. What is it I am in search of?? Oh, right, a snack! Of course there are differing opinions on snacking – some say it’s bad and will keep your body from using existing energy stores (fat!), some say it will rev up your metabolism to help you burn more fat.

There are 2 realities we must face:

1. Each person has their own unique biology and metabolism that will or will not function ideally with snacks. Some people function best on 3 meals per day, period. Others will do better with 3 smaller meals and 2 or 3 snacks. We all have to find what works best for our body.

2. Sometimes we just get the urge to snack! When this urge strikes, it is best to address it head on with a good quality nutritious snack rather than try to squash this urge and berate yourself resulting in feelings of guilt and shame! Associate snacking with negativity and we’re likely to ride that shame spiral full speed into a bag or neon orange cheesy corn chips (you know the ones I mean!) or a box of those cookies you bought from the neighbor kid!

So what’s the solution?

The best place to start is with a Pantry Clean-out!! Go through your pantry, cupboards, drawers, and refrigerator. Throw away all the tempting garbage – your go-to treats and snacks that you know are bad for you but you simply can’t resist! You won’t have to resist them if they don’t exist!

Next, re-stock with healthy options so you have a selection of easy quick nutritious snacks on hand. Having options readily available will give you an immediate snack solution – you can feel good about what you are eating and avoid any negative snack guilt.

So now the big question – what are some healthy snacks I can stock up on? I actually did a search online for “Healthy Snack Options” and as I browsed through the results I was appalled at what some very well known sites were recommending as healthy options. One site listed a whole selection of packaged items without a single simple produce item among the options (umm, apple anyone??). I was so disturbed by what I found that I decided to start my own list.

Now this list is by no means a comprehensive list and some of the items may be deemed more or less healthy depending on your own nutritional beliefs, but this is a list of a lot of my go-to healthy snacks and other options that I would feel good about putting in my body and recommending to others.

And BTW – I don’t believe in low-fat or fat-free options. Good fats are essential for optimal health and generally when fats are stripped from foods they are replaced with the ultimate evil, SUGAR!

My Top 25 Healthy Snacks:
1. Apple slices with Peanut Butter
2. Grapes – fresh or frozen!
3. Banana – fresh or frozen!
4. Clementine, Orange, Tangerine
5. Any kind of berries!
6. Plain Yogurt – add your own fruit instead of getting the kind with syrup-y “fruit”
7. Celery sticks with Peanut Butter and Raw Honey
8. Cucumber slices with Guacamole
9. Cherry Tomatoes
10. Sugar Snap Peas
11. Raw veggies with Hummus (Carrots, Cucumber, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bell Pepper!)
12. Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios – go for raw unsalted
13. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds – go for raw unsalted
14. Hard Boiled Egg
15. Cottage Cheese with Peaches or Berries
16. Sliced Melon (Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Watermelon)
17. Raisins, Prunes, other dried fruits – go for unsulfured
18. Fruit Smoothie – Banana / Mango is my favorite quick fix!
19. Pickles or Olives
20. Whole Wheat Pita with hummus
21. Whole Wheat Crackers with Sardines or Tuna
22. Whole Grain porridge – Brown Rice, Quinoa or Oats with Almond milk and fruit!
23. Homemade Trail Mix (I make mine with Cashew pieces, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Raisins, and a few Dark Chocolate chips!)
24. Date Balls (check out my recipe for Death by Fudgy Date Balls!)
25. Any other Whole Food or Whole Food recipe!!

Bag the guilt and enjoy a healthy snack!!

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The Secret

This inspiring film focuses on positivity and the Power of Attraction. Like attracts like, and what you focus on you will draw to you.

This really made me think about where I focus my attention. Have you ever noticed that the more energy you spend thinking and fretting about something you do NOT want to happen, the more likely it seems that it WILL happen? So rather than focusing on what you don’t want you should be focusing on what you do want! I have also noticed that when you have a more positive outlook you are more likely to notice those opportunities that may bring you toward your goals. When you expect good things to happen you are more open to even the most subtle hint of opportunity.

I highly recommend this for anyone seeking inspiration and a new perspective. Most of us have set goals for the New Year – consider this homework toward achieving those goals! Go forth and be awesome!!

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#5 Tip for Better Health

Move your body!  Remember that old saying “Move it or lose it”?  That applies to your body as well!  If you want to stay mobile, be mobile!

Exercise has so many great benefits – it improves your mood, reduces stress, strengthens your heart, helps control your weight, and more!

What is the best exercise for you?  One that you ENJOY!  Some people like the solitude of running or walking alone, while some like to join clubs to meet other people.  Some enjoy the group atmosphere of an organized class like spinning, Zumba, or yoga.  And some prefer sports or activities like softball, basketball, ice skating, or gardening.  Whatever it is that motivates you to get active and stay active – THAT is the right activity for you!

How often should you exercise?  There are so many varying opinions on this.  Ideally you should aim for 30-60 minutes per day of some type of activity.  Often life gets in the way of our ideal goals, so set your minimum expectation to 30 minutes every other day.  If you can’t fit a full 30 minutes into your day in one chunk try breaking it up – 10 minutes 3 times per day or 15 minutes twice a day.  Take a walk around the block during your lunch break and then do some strength exercises before dinner – crunches, push-ups, squats, lunges, bicep curls and shoulder presses with weights.

Get creative!  Too cold outside?  Do laps around inside your office building!  Don’t have any hand weights?  Use soup cans or water jugs!

Make it fun for the whole family!  Turn on music and get everyone dancing!  Go sledding!  Play badminton in the yard!

Make exercise a part of your life and you will reap the rewards in you health and your happiness.

So, how are you planning to get active today?

Get Active

Vanishing of the Bees

This film discusses the disturbing trend of the loss of honeybees known as CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder. Beekeepers reveal the mysterious and abrupt disappearance of hive after hive of seemingly healthy bees. Beekeepers are not only concerned about the pollination impact, but also about what this means from a big picture perspective. They believe that this is merely an indicator of the health of the environment and the sustainability of current common practices.

Holistic practices vs. industrial practices are compared including queen bee lifespan and artificial insemination, honey vs. sugar syrup as food for the hive, and local hives vs. migratory or trucked hives. The potential impact of topical and systemic pesticides are reviewed showing the relation of CCD to the introduction of systemic pesticides and GMOs. Also discussed is the increase in honey products being imported and supplemented with lactose and high fructose corn syrup.

You can help support the honeybees by buying local, buying organic, or planting your own garden.

Learn more about this issue and view the trailer here: http://www.vanishingbees.com/

Here’s another article from Natural News on this topic: http://www.naturalnews.com/042765_neonicotinoids_honey_bees_immune_systems.html

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Windfall

Great film revealing the realities of wind turbines. With the push for green energy sources we have seen wind farms pop up all over the nation. More and more, the companies installing these wind turbines are leasing land in rural areas and on farms where residents live in close proximity to these structures.

This film primarily focuses on the small town of Meredith in upstate New York and how this issue has divided its citizens. Video footage of the flickering shadows cast through windows into homes and recordings of the low thumping hum give you an idea of the reality of the daily impact of these turbines in residential areas. Residents share information on the noise and vibrations that are a constant annoyance and the health issues they have experienced that started when the turbines were turned on, including headaches, nausea, insomnia, and fatigue. Issues such as setbacks, ice throws, and equipment failures are discussed, as well as the realities of energy ROI.

View the trailer here: http://windfallthemovie.com

Also learn more about the health, wildlife, and environmental impacts of wind turbines here: http://wind-watch.org/

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Kale Berry Power Smoothie

This power smoothie is packed with nutrients! Kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K as well as manganese, the berries are a wonderful source of antioxidants, and the banana is a good source of fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and manganese. Aloe juice provides anti-inflammatory properties along with the flax oil’s essential fatty acids. I like the Raw Fiber brand because it includes a good dose of good bacteria so it does double duty for digestive health!

Handful of baby kale or Lacinato kale
5 oz frozen mixed berries
1 banana
4 oz aloe juice
4 oz water
2 tbsp flax oil
1 scoop Raw Fiber (or your favorite brand of fiber powder)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!!

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Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat

This film focuses on the ever-expanding obesity epidemic and what we could be doing to combat this silent threat. Topics discussed include the school lunch program and government policies that are causing continuing health and weight issues. You will see the story of a 12 year old girl who undergoes liposuction to try to fix her weight issue, showing the disturbing rise in drastic weight-loss measures in younger patients. Includes interviews with public figures, authors, and experts including Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader, and Michael Pollan.

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Death By Fudgy Date Balls

This is a delicious no-guilt treat you can indulge in when sugar cravings strike.  There is no added sugar or other sweeteners – just nutritious real food!  I love, Love, LOVE these!  They do take a little bit of time to make, but trust me – it is SO worth it.  My husband thinks they look festive, so I decided I will be making these to share at Christmas time!  🙂  Multiply the recipe to make more for parties or just to store some extra in the freezer!

3/4 cup raw pitted Medjool dates
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup gojiberries
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
approx 1/2 cup additional unsweetened shredded coconut for coating

Soak dates and goji berries in warm water for 10-15 minutes to soften. Add all ingredients into food processor and process until dates are all chopped and mixture is even.

Transfer mixture to bowl, then pour the additional 1/2 cup of coconut onto a plate. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into about 1″ diameter ball and roll in coconut to coat. Add more coconut to plate for rolling as needed.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Makes about 16 date balls.

Enjoy!

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I <3 My CSA!

Well, this summer I finally did it – I joined a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and as a member you commit to supporting a local farm for the season, in sickness and in health. This means if they have a plentiful growing season, you reap the benefits in an abundance of fresh, local, beautiful (and organic if you choose an organic farm!) nutrient rich produce. And if the season is more troublesome (flooding, droughts, etc.) then you may not see as much produce that season.

The purpose of joining a CSA is not only to support your local farmers, but also to provide them a guaranteed income to free them from the added stresses of a constant need to sell and let them focus on growing and harvesting the best produce they can. It’s a wonderful thing to get weekly updates with information on the upcoming harvests and the progress of the new crops and to know where your food is coming from.

Each week I pick up my box of produce, which has been jam-packed lately as we are in the peak of the season, and I am astonished by all of the beautiful veggies (and occasional fruit) that I find inside as I unpack it – it covers my kitchen counter! Veggies have taken over the refrigerator and I have had a wonderful time experimenting with veggies I have never tried before. Fennel, asian eggplant, radishes, and kholrabi are now some of my new favorites – I know it’s crazy, but no, I had never tried a radish until this summer! The tomatoes taste like the ones I remember from childhood, and the melons are so fresh and delicious!! I could really go on and on…

So needless to say, I am a convert. I have already signed up for my winter share and I’m looking forward to some new items to try in the winter crops. I highly recommend joining a CSA in your area. It will make you feel connected with your local farmers and inspire you to try new healthy delicious dishes!

If you live in the Twin Cities area and would like to learn more about the CSA I joined, Featherstone Farm, you can visit their website for more info: http://www.featherstonefarm.com/

Or check out this website to find a CSA in your area: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Here are a couple pictures from earlier in the season – the last few boxes have been even fuller!

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King Corn

In this informative film 2 college graduates move to Iowa to plant and grow an acre of corn and try to trace it from its origins to where it ends up in the food chain to help them understand how analysis of the carbon in their hair shows corn as the major source. Through their experience we get a behind the scenes view of the production cycle, from the purchase of GMO seeds, through the growing cycle with plentiful use of potent herbicides, to the harvesting and sale of their crop. As they learn the ins and outs of subsidies and supply and demand they also learn how this grain is so widely produced and used for a variety of products, from a multitude of food additives to ethanol to livestock feed, that is virtually impossible to trace from source to end product.

View the trailer at this website: http://www.kingcorn.net/

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