Fed Up

This is a film everyone needs to watch. The vast majority of us are overwhelmed by the varying arguments about what we should and shouldn’t eat and end up trusting those whose job it is to sell us a product (regardless of whether it’s good for us or not) to provide us guidance on what we should be eating.

Did you know sugar has been proven to be as addictive as drugs like cocaine and heroin?
Did you know 80% of the products on the grocery store shelves have added sugar?

Consumption of sugar drives cravings for more putting us into a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating and feelings of guilt and failure. And artificial sweeteners are no better! Did you know people who drink artificially sweetened beverages are more likely to be overweight? Artificial sweeteners have been proven to case cravings as well! When our body tastes the sweet flavor but never gets the sugar to fulfill that expectation we get more cravings.

And while many people need to be more active that is not the whole solution! We need nutrition education starting with kids in school – and I mean real nutrition, not a skewed version that supports the avalanche of unhealthy low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free, protein-added, fiber-added, franken-foods being marketed with meaningless tags such as “wholesome”, “natural”, and even “healthy”. Most school lunches are packed with sugar, starches, and salt – not what kids need to get started off right for optimal health. The rates of type 2 diabetes in children is on the incline.

And there is the major issue of affordability and availability. The general belief is that it’s too expensive to eat healthy, but there are options to eat healthy on a budget including shopping at farmer’s markets, buying a CSA share, or growing your own produce in your garden!

For those who do not have these options we have a gap that needs to be addressed. Healthy foods need to be made available to all people of all economic statues. The wrong foods are being subsidized and the cheapest foods in most markets are the most unhealthy. Why are we not subsidizing greens and carrots and apples??

I encourage you to watch this film and spread the word. Have your friends over for dinner and a movie! It may just change your life, and theirs as well!

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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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