The Minimalist’s Guide to Eating

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

There’s more to life than food.   I mean gosh, we spend a hell of a lot of time in the kitchen and thinking about what we’ll eat.  We all have those day’s were we wish we could just inject ourselves with a liquidy goo of calories.

Well, I think adopting the minimalist approach to eating could save you some serious time.

You don’t have to own less than 50 items or live in a mini-house to adopt aspects of the minimalist way of life.   We’re just talking about keeping it simple.   Pair down your routine and you will be released from the constant struggle of decision.

And it’s healthy!

Freaking healthy as can be!   Yeah, that’s right – healthy AND easy.  It’s probably the last bit of diet advice you’ll ever need.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if you subscribed to this blog and kept hanging out and talking healthy with me- but it’s probably not necessary.  This is a philosophy you could adopt and use for the rest of your life.   You’d probably live longer and feel better.

I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore minimalist, but I do have tendencies.  I’m fine living in a little apartment and keeping few possessions.  Nate and I have moved twice in the last two years so we’ve kind of been forced into this lifestyle.  After selling some of the larger things (couch, bed, etc), we have been able to fit all of our possessions in a subaru forester!!

We appreciate the sense of freedom from living a minimalist lifestyle and have begun to look for other ways to simplify our lives.   We paired down our meal-plans and grocery lists and are really enjoying it.   We still give ourselves a couple meals per week where we make fun recipes, but more often our meals are really basic.  Today, I’m excited as heck to share our ideas with you!  Here they are:

1)  Buy Less Ingredients

Go to the grocery store or farmer’s market with a simple plan.  Stick to fresh veggies, fruit, milk, yogurt, eggs, nuts, grains, legumes, and maybe one or two others.   Buy essentials such as tamari,  hot sauce, spices, herbs, and oil in large quantities when its on sale so you don’t typically run out (maybe check on prices if getting low).   Bake your bread and get your meat locally.  Vegetarians and vegans can simplify further.

2)  Prepare Simply

Cook your foods only a few ways.   No elaborate sauces or extensive preparations.  A sprinkle of fresh herbs, dash of salt and pepper, or spritz of lemon can go a long way.  Here are some examples:

  • Slice hearty veggies and roast in the oven with fresh herbs for around 45 minutes,  putting a meat in halfway or so
  • Steam fish, rice, and veggies all at once
  • Sauté tofu and tender veggies in butter and olive oil and serve with brown rice
  • Cut up tons of raw veggies and fruit for a large salad and maybe throw in a protein (chicken, tofu, beans, quinoa, hard-boiled egg, etc).  Toss with olive oil and balsamic or red-wine vinegar.
  • Throw leftovers between two pieces of bread with cheese.

You can try using a 5 or less ingredient rule (besides seasoning & oil) – which  shouldn’t be too hard.   Examples:  breakfast – oatmeal, nuts, fruit.   Lunch – (sandwich) bread, goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, sprouts.  Dinner – black beans, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, corn tortillas.

3)  Eat Less

Down a large glass of water as you begin to prepare a meal.  Use the smaller 8-inch diameter salad plates for all your meals  and try to fill them halfway with veggies.  This just leaves room enough for a small amount of protein and whole grain or vegetable starch.

Do like one of the oldest living populations on the planet – the Okinawans, and only eat until your %80 full.  Don’t clean your plate completely and never go back for seconds.   Leftovers become new meals or a quick snack for later saving you even more time.

Simplify your diet and you’ll simplify your life.  Feel the weight lift and the stress melt.

Anyone have any ideas for simplifying further?

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing so you don’t miss out on more great articles in the future.  Then, e-mail a link to this page to your friends. You can also follow me on twitter for regular healthy eating updates.  And be sure to leave a comment below!!

9 Healthy Tweeters You Should Follow

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Foods

My hope is to suggest 8 people that all offer something a little different from one another.  In their own way, each of them makes a unique contribution to the healthy living community.

Join the conversation – follow these people to get a wide perspective from the wellness front.

@drweil – (The Love-able Doctor) Don’t follow him for his sweet beard alone, follow him because he walks the walk and talks the talk.  When it comes to integrative medicine, natural health and well-being – this guy knows what he’s talking about.  I happen to LOVE his cookbook The Healthy Kitchen.

@101cookbooks – (The Super Natural Cook) Heidi from the site 101cookbooks.com tweets about all things healthy and vegetarian.   Plenty of links to amazing recipes.  I love her website and appreciate her lifestyle of super natural eating.  She’s awesome….follow her….thats all I’ve got to say.

@HarvardGUTS –  (The Team of Doctors)  Tweets from The Growing Up Today Study (GUTS).  GUTS was started in 1996 as a long-term prospective investigation to evaluate factors that influence weight change.  Expect good tweets about nutrition and general wellness.  And they share lots of clinical studies.   Brand new twitter account, so go show your support for trustworthy medical advice.

@FarmForward – (The Educator)  Ben Goldstein tweets about Farm Forward’s core mission of working to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farm animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture.

@rawgoraw – (The Raw Food Queen) Natural Health Consultant, yoga teacher, raw foodiest, and artist.   Gabrielle Gingras tweets mostly about raw food and links to some great recipes.   Although I’m not an advocate of strictly raw food, it obvious  its good for you.  And raw food can make a really quick snack or meal.

@MichaelPollan – (The Policy Guy) The bestwelling author of the amazing books The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food:  An Eater’s Manifesto, and Food Rules. Michael is a graceful communicator and very well-educated on the problems of American’s Industrial Food Complex.  Follow him for good public policy and nutrition tweets.

@cookingupastory – (The Film Crew) Tweets from the grassroots variety show about people, food, and sustainable living.   Lots of good information from the local foods front.   After visiting their twitter account, be sure to head over to their website and view some of the amazing short films they have produced and dig around for great recipes.

@kevinrose – (The Health Conscious Techie)  This is kind of a fun/random one I thought ‘d throw in to the mix.  Kevin Rose is the founder of digg.com. He’s a tea enthusiast and general health and well-being type of dude.   Lots of good and funny technology related tweets if your into that sort of thing.

@healthychelle – (The Dork)  FOLLOW ME!!!  Of course you should follow ME!  I’m too busy to tweet a ton so I promise not to clog your stream.  I’ll lay down some random healthy tidbits every now and then.   I would be absolutlely honered if you’d follow me.  And say hi when you get a chance.

Well thats it folks!  Get on twitter and get talking healthy.  In my opinion, this is the most important conversation our world can have.  By eating a local whole foods diet, we can reduce childhood obesity, reduce global warming, and lower the price of health care.

Let me know in the comments any other healthy living bloggers you enjoy following.

See you on twitter!

How To Start Gardening

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Foods

Do you garden?   No…. ooh man, bummer.  Well, I’d say this year you take the plunge.  This article will tell you why and how.  (reading time: ~2 minutes)

Time to get yourself a taste of the immense joy you’ll receive from growin’ your own.  There is no better feeling than planting seeds in the ground and watching them sprout into little happy plants (or massive, depending on the plant I guess).   You’ll also benefit from:

  • eating the freshest food on the planet earth
  • enjoying the healthiest foods in the world
  • saving significant amounts of cash money $$$
  • getting outside to breathe in fresh air and get some light exercise
  • the stylish look of dirt under your fingernails (you hipster you)

And guess what?  You can live anywhere, in any type of housing situation, and grow at least a few plants.  If your an absolute newbie to vegetable gardening, be sure to start small.  The last thing you want is to get overwhelmed your first year and get a bad taste in your mouth for gardening.

Grow some vegetables you know you like and maybe one your less familiar with.  You never know, you could end up with a new favorite food.

Here are some ideas and resources to get you started:

Conventional Style -Bury your yard in a thick layer of compost and till it into the soil.  Test and tweak until you get the soil the way you like it.   Maybe build a couple raised beds while your at it.

The conventional gardener has some amazing resources available at their fingertips.  There’s really no need to even purchase a book, there are so many great resources available online.  Here are a couple awesome websites to check out :

Containers -If you have a sunny porch that will fit some pots, we highly recommend the book Bountiful Container by Maggie Stuckey (weird side note: same exact name as my good friend).  For info on the web, check out here, here, and here.  If your porch isn’t sunny but some of your windows are, consider getting a window box.  You could probably build one easily, but here’s what Target’s got just in case.

Go Indoors  –If you don’t have a sunny porch, plant a few pots indoors by a window.   Most herbs grow really well indoors.  Or, you can ask your landlord if you can either place some pots on the stoop or plant a little garden in the yard or landscaping.   Don’t give up, find a way to do it.  At least one tomato plant, I beg you!

Community Style -Nate and I have always wanted to join a community garden but we’ve been moving too often (Bloomington, then Portland, now Michigan).   This looks like a great way to get into gardening on the cheap and with easy access to hands-on expert advice.  Community gardeners share tools, resources, and even crops.

And BONUS:  Get to know your neighbors!!  I can imagine it now, a potluck supper with unique amazing dishes from the garden everyone shares.   I honestly believe getting involved and connecting to your community is one of the most important things you can do to be happy.

Note:  Portland, OR’s got a website called yardsharing.org that connects people who have extra land with those that want to farm.  Search for or start a similar site in your area.

Sharecropping -This is coming back folks.   While living in Portland, I remember reading a newspaper article about two guys that will plant out your backyard and you get a share of the crops.  (maybe it was these guys?)  If you are an extremely busy person (with bare lawn space), you would at least get to watch a garden grow and enjoy the fruits of someones labor.  It might be hard to find out if someone in your city does it, but check around and see what you come up with.  Let me know what you find, try searching for:  urban farming, backyard farming, etc.

Here is a woman in NYC that’s doing it.   (side note:  visit this link!  Foodcurated.com is awesome!)

Going Rogue  –Take some seeds and plant them in that ugly empty lot you always walk by or in the back corner of your local park and let mother nature do the work.   Scatter seeds in nooks and crannies around your neighborhood, and go for “harvest walks” at sunrise when most people are still sleeping.  Get creative, the sky is the limit.  If you go rogue, please be careful about trespassing and other laws, etc.

Well, there you are folks- lots of good stuff to get you thinking and hopefully doing!  Growing vegetables is the best way to start eating and living healthy.

Remember, spring is quickly approaching.  If your planting outdoors, now is the time to be coming up with a little plan for your garden.

Show some love…

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6 Lightning Fast Mini Dinners

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

Written by Michelle Nardine RD. Follow me on Twitter.

(Warning:  this strategy might not work so well if you have kids or a grumpy spouse)

I don’t know about you, but when summer comes around, I’m not big on slaving away for hours over a hot stove. I like to enjoy some free time outdoors. You know – get outside and really experience life.

I’m not against cooking nice filling dinners in the summer, but doing it every night is a real time drain. I’d rather be hiking around a neat park or reading on a blanket in the shade. I’d rather be playing tennis and taking the dogs to play at the dog park. You with me?

When you don’t get home from work until 6 or 7pm, spending an hour or more on dinner is a good way to drain the rest of your energy while simultaneously killing your good mood.

As long as you get an adequate breakfast and nutritious lunch (lots of veggies), there’s no need to go overboard with big dinners all the time – especially if you’ve packed on some winter pounds.

Here are some ideas for tiny snack-like dinners that you can prepare and eat in just a few minutes. They all have enough protein to give you some energy to go out and explore the world.  And you could always toss them in a cooler with some wine and go for a picnic in the park.  (Tip: If you get hungry again close to bed, sip on some warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg.)

1.  Banana w/ nut butter and granola. Grab and partially peel a banana. Use a knife to spread a blob of your favorite nut butter on the next bite of banana. Dip it into a bowl or bag of granola to coat.  Eat and repeat.

2.  Tuna in a pouch. (made using the solid-white albacore tuna in air-tight pouches)  Cut open the tuna pouch and throw in a small forkful of mayo (or avocado instead) and some random stuff from the fridge. Maybe toss in some grapes or nuts or a little lettuce and some radish. Eat straight up with a fork or on crackers (my favorite crackers are Wasa).

3.  Fresh mozzy’s. Cut up a fresh mozzarella ball and put on toasted bread, crackers, or in a wrap with fresh basil and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and enjoy.

4.  Simple  salad. Grab a handful of spinach or micro-greens and throw on a hard-boiled egg  (precooked earlier in the week) or goat cheese. Add a couple other veggies of your choosing (onion, radish, broccoli, etc) and drizzle with a quick dressing (whip together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fancy brown mustard). You can crumble some cracker on top if your feelin’ it.

5.  Cottage cheese with strawberries. Pretty simple stuff here, just slice strawberries on some cottage cheese (or yogurt if you’d rather) and eat with a fork or wrap in lettuce and eat with your fingers.

6.  Yogurt dipped veggies. Combine just a little bit (to suit your taste) of a ranch seasoning packet with some plain yogurt. Serve with raw veggies of your choosing.

So, there you go. I’m giving you permission to eat small for dinner once and a while. Permission to get out of the kitchen and out enjoying the world.

Do you have any idea’s of your own?? Leave them in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article, do me a HUGE favor and share it with your twitter or facebook friends. That’s pretty much the only way my writing reaches new people. Thanks a ton for your support as always!

(photo by Antikris)

5 Often Forgotten Power Foods

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Foods

Overlooked and underused in the american kitchen, these five foods pack a nutritional uppercut.  Shoot for incorporating at least two of them into your diet each week.

1. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

With potent lycopene levels, these delicious gems may reduce cancers of the lung, stomach, and prostate.   Sun-dried tomatoes are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C.

Throw them in your next pesto dish, on a home-made pizza, or in a lunchtime veggie wrap.   If your feeling really frisky, head over to pickyourown.org to learn how to make sun-dried tomatoes all by yourself.

2.  Sardines

You’ve been told a million times to eat more fish, specifically salmon and tuna for the high Omega-3 fatty acids.  Well, dare I say, these are even better (for you).  They are tiny little fishes, so they haven’t had the time and energy to bio-accumulate so much mercury.  They are extremely low in mercury contaminants.

Buy them packed in extra virgin olive oil and you’ll see they totally deserve a spot on your caesar salad tonight.  Yum!  Or, Sometimes we buy them packed in mustard sauce and spread on whole-wheat crackers for a mid-afternoon snack.  Crown Prince brand is really good and you can buy them in bulk on Amazon to save time at the grocery store if that’s your thing.

#update:  important new video clip about sardines:  http://blip.tv/file/3492270

3.  Sunflower Seeds

Firm and tender?  Yes, that’s totally possible!!  And sunflower seeds are the perfect example.   These anti-inflamatory mini-guys pack a huge amount of vitamin E in every serving, which is a very important nutrient.  Vitamin E is the body’s main source of fat-soluble antioxidants.  They are also high in thiamin and magnesium.  And BONUS: the flowers are beautiful!

The eating possibilities are many.   Throw them on salads or just eat them by the handfuls.  You can also incorporate them into your favorite granola bar recipe.

4.  Quinoa

A favorite amongst vegetarians.  And mayans!

The grain-like quinoa have been gaining popularity for good reason.  They have a perfect set of amino acids which form a complete protein.  Also, there are so many great recipes to make with quinoa.  We are big fans of just putting some lightly sauteed or steamed vegetables over them.   Here is one of my favorite recipe websites, 101 cookbooks, showing you how to do quinoa for breakfast or as an interesting dinner.

5.  Black-Eyed Peas

These are good for you despite being named after the low talent music group (haha, j/k).   And don’t confuse them with the pea family either, they’re actually beans!

Black-eyed peas are all about the fiber – good for your heart and intestines (and pooping!).  They are high in folate, low in fat and sodium, and contain no cholesterol.  And for the protein junkies, good news – black eyed peas are extremely high in protein.

Buy from the bulk bin and relish in your frugality or buy fresh for maximum flavor and nutrients.  Here’s how to cook fresh black-eyed peas:

  • Place black-eyed peas in a large pot or saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low.  Simmer covered until peas are soft when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain and serve.

I’ve got some other ideas for “Often Forgotten Power Foods” so I’ll probably do another post sometime in the not-near future.   Make sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on all the exciting things I’ve got coming soon, including more free stuff.   Let me know in the comments if your a fan of any of these foods.

(photo by diongillard)

Cold Fighting Meal Plan

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

Damn!!  I’ve got a cold.

My nose is running and starting to get pretty raw from blowing it.   My head is foggy and eyes are running.  I can’t function all that well. You know how it is….

Colds viruses are extremely contagious.  No one is immune to getting the cold no matter how much you exercise or how healthy you eat.

Cold medicine may give you temporary relief against the symptoms, but it won’t shorten the duration of your cold. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not big on taking medicines in general.   Fortunately, certain foods HAVE been scientifically proven to shorten the duration of colds.

Eat foods that have been clinically proven to benefit people with colds.  Foods that promote draining, shorten your cold’s duration, and relieve pain.  These foods include:

  • Hot Peppers – Capsaicin, the chemical that gives them their spicyness, is the key to their cold-fighting effectiveness.   It acts as an expectorant, pain reliever, and decongestant all at the same time.  They are also loaded with vitamin C.
  • Orange Juice – Fresh-squeezed orange juice has around 120 mg of vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the duration of cold.
  • Ginger – Studies have shown that it may fight certain types of viruses and have mild pain relieving properties.
  • Chicken Stock – According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center – yeah, your mom’s chicken soup really did help you get over your cold quicker.
  • Garlic – The chemical allicin in garlic kills viruses left and right.
  • Water – Milk/Dairy thickens your mucus and makes it harder to drain.  Water will keep it thin and draining properly.  I won’t include this on the meal plan, but make sure and drink around 10 glasses a day during your cold.  I drink one glass an hour starting at 7am and slow way down after I get my 10.  That way I don’t ruin my sleep by having to get up to pee.

Here is your sample meal plan to get over your cold and moving on with your life.

Breakfast – (garlic, orange juice, hot peppers)

You need a good, hearty breakfast to give you energy for the day.  Try this:

  • glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (or two oranges)
  • 2 eggs scrambled with tomato, fresh spinach, raw minced garlic, and generous dash of cayene pepper.
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast

Lunch – (chicken stock, ginger)

No one feels like cooking when their sick, so go to the store and buy the most delicious can of chicken soup you can find.  Make sure you get one that has chicken stock (not vegetable stock).  Drink a glass of fresh ginger tea.  Here is a good ginger tea explanation video for you. http://vimeo.com/2199301

Dinner – (garlic, hot peppers, chicken stock, ginger)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sauté or bake chicken and cube.  Cook brown rice in chicken stock.  Saute garlic and jalapeños for just a little bit and then add diced tomatoes and a grating of fresh ginger, the cooked rice, and diced chicken.  Remove from heat.

Cut a hole in the top of red, green, yellow, orange, or (preferably) poblano peppers (cut a slit in side if using poblano, they don’t stand up well).  Remove the white pulp and rinse them out.    Stuff them with the rice mixture.   Bake them for 20 to 30 minutes.

I’m going to follow this plan and we’ll see how it works.

If you want to prevent colds from ever occurring, make sure your lifestyle is good for your immune system.   Get moderate outdoor exercise (gyms contain tons of bacteria) and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.   Reduce stress through meditation or yoga and smile away your worries.

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