Great trick for dicing onions!

Here’s a simple way to dice an onion into uniform pieces, without having to chase it all around your cutting board. This method can also be used for shallots and garlic cloves…but I’d use a smaller knife 🙂

Advertisements

Big diet changes for me! (Part 2)

fish n chips

Enjoying some Fish ‘n’ Chips on South Padre Island (the napkin bib was just a joke for this pic FYI)

OMG! I just realized it’s been 2 years since I posted Part 1 of this article (in which I may have “promised” you more details “soon.” Ooooops!).

Well, better later than never, aye?

Okay…so…in Part 1, I explained that during the past several years of our travels, I’ve finally gotten up the nerve to lighten up a bit on my 100% additive-free diet.” I’d say I’m in more of an 80/20 sort of situation these days – 80% additive-free, 20% eating for fun, fellowship, etc.

img_5608

Our friends surprised us with a beach picnic for our Anniversary!! 

After about 7 years of eating only “clean” foods and not eating any typical American processed foods nor going out to eat, nor partaking in social food events, etc., I’ve started doing all of these things now…at least to some extent.

(And I’m including a bunch of photos here of things I’ve eaten during the past few years for those of you who’d like to see some examples of exactly what I mean.)

img_9574

Chad used to eat Chicken Chimichangas before we changed our diet, so I took him out for one at this cute lil’ place on the beach in Santa Cruz, CA.

Throughout the many years I spent coaching folks on how to clean up their diets, one of the most frequent questions I would get from readers and clients is, “Do you ever go out to eat?” And for many years, my answer was always, “No. never.”

And, really, that fact more than any other obstacle seemed to discourage people from eating “cleaner.” At the time, I really didn’t understand that because I felt soooooo good that I didn’t even desire to go out to eat or to partake in any foods that were less “clean” than I preferred.

Buuuuuuut….a few years ago, I started to feel differently about things.

Eventually, I just started to feel like I was “missing out” sometimes. And I’d never felt that way before.

img_9348

I’m a sucker for dining just about anywhere with waterfront seating.

During our full-time RV travels, we would sometimes come across cute, quirky little places that looked like they’d be fun places to dine. But I wouldn’t go.

Or we’d come across free samples of local fare, and I’d be too scared to try a bite.

Or we’d do a favor for someone along our journey, and they’d want to take us to dinner to thank us. And we’d politely decline.

And then..one day during our travels, we were on a tour of San Francisco. We landed in China Town at lunch time, and I could tell that Chad was longing for some Chinese food. (Before we started eating an additive-free diet,  we used to go out for Chinese food quite frequently.)

chinese

Enjoying Orange Chicken at a Chinese restaurant

I knew I would make his day if I offered to eat Chinese food with him…in China Town.

So, I took the “plunge.” And, honestly, even as I’m writing this years later, I still can’t believe I did it. I was soooooooo nervous, and I didn’t eat very much. But it’s a memory we look back upon fondly. And I’m glad we did it!

I’m definitely not saying that any of this is good for my health, and I’m definitely not encouraging (or discouraging) you from doing the same.

img_1991

Enjoying burgers with an ocean view.

But, I definitely wanted to post an update for you about how much my diet has changed these past few years.

I do, now, enjoy going out to eat (and ordering more than water!)…and I’ve eaten holiday meals (and “just because” meals) with family and friends on many, many occasions these past few years.

I’ve even eaten some regular ol’ processed candy just to see if I would like it the same as I did before I ever stopped eating it! (Turns out…not so much!) 

Basically, if I feel like I might be missing out on something these days…an experience… or fellowship…or sometimes just simply the flavor or convenience of something, then I’m generally willing to consider giving it a try.

img_6107

Eating “famous” BBQ Ribs on a deck overlooking the bay on Padre Island

Of course, I still fully believe it’s physiologically healthier to eat a 100% additive-free diet. And I’ve actually been inching my way back closer to that end of the spectrum lately.

I have put on some weight these past few years (which I can’t say is entirely due to the dietary changes, of course), and I don’t always feel quite as amazingly healthy as I used to. But, for now, the joy and freedom I gain from being less strict with my diet is totally worth it!

I definitely believe that our health is determined by many factors in addition to our diets…with our mental state being very high on the list. You may disagree, and that’s okay.

Loosening up on my dietary restrictions has brought me much excitement and fellowship and also encouraged me to believe that I’ll be able to travel more freely in the future (perhaps internationally?) without having to be so 100% concerned with every ingredient in every thing that passes through my lips.

And that has been so incredibly liberating!

img_2848

Chad enjoying a complimentary Birthday Beer on our Alaskan Airlines flight 

So…how about you? Do you eat an entirely additive-free diet? Why or why not?

What factors do you consider when deciding whether or not to eat certain foods? We’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and here are a bunch of additional pics from the past few years in case you want to see more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips for Packing ADDITIVE-FREE Lunches

In recent years, many school districts have made headlines for offering more natural, “made-from-scratch” selections on their lunch menus.

But what if your child’s school is still serving a processed menu full of food additives?

It’s easy to take control of the quality of your child’s lunch by packing it at home with these great tips:


1. Don’t be fooled!

Many pre-packaged junk foods are masquerading as “natural” options at the grocery store. Unfortunately, “natural” is not a regulated term – it indicates nothing about the types of food additives the product may contain. Also, just because an item is sold at a “natural” food store or labeled as “organic,” that is no guarantee that it is additive-free. Always read the entire list of ingredients, and make sure you understand what every word means!


2. Save time!

Take advantage of the truly additive-free “short-cuts” that are available. Admittedly, these are few and far between. But if you look hard enough and scrutinize ingredients lists, you’ll find a few good store-bought snacks and treats made from truly natural ingredients. For example, at many natural health stores you’ll find serving-sized canned fruits and applesauce packets that contain no sweeteners, preservatives or other additives. Dried fruits without added colors, sweeteners or preservatives (e.g., sulfur dioxide) are also available at some grocers. If you don’t have access to these stores where you live, check online because many of these items are also available for purchase through natural health websites.


3. Get equipped!

More often than not, you’ll be sending perishable foods to school, so a brown paper sack simply won’t suffice. Check out the wide variety of lunchbox equipment and supplies that are now available online or at your local department store or natural health store. Ice packs, a lunch box, re-usable sectioned containers and a good thermos are must-haves. I have even seen nifty containers available online for sending frozen smoothies along for lunch!

4. Make your own nutrient-packed sweet treats!

Homemade granola bars and muffins are easy options, and you can use them to disguise all sorts of healthful ingredients (e.g., shredded zucchini and carrots, nuts and berries). Recipes are available online for a variety of dietary restrictions, as well (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, egg-free, etc.). Trail mix is a quick option, too. Just combine a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Make sure to check the ingredients list when purchasing these items because unhealthy oils, flavorings and other additives commonly lurk there.

5. Think outside the sandwich!


Skip the processed bread, mayo and cold cuts. Send a variety of homemade entrees, instead! Leftover servings from last night’s dinner are a great sandwich replacement. Pasta salad is a fun main dish, too, and it’s a great vehicle for all sorts of cold leftover veggies; just be sure to make your own homemade dressing. You can add leftover chicken or some garbanzo beans for a heartier dish.

6. Make a menu!


Literally – schedule it out, and write it down! It takes a little more time in the beginning, but the peace of mind is well worth it. Once you’ve created a few weekly menus, you can simply rotate them. So within the first few weeks of school, all of your lunch planning is essentially done for the entire year!

7. Plan ahead!


Guided by your menu, you can strategize and make large batches in advance of items that will store well in the freezer or fridge. Chop fresh veggies and boil and peel eggs for the next few days, and store them in the fridge so they’re ready to go. Bake muffins and granola bars in large quantities, and store them in the freezer for upcoming weeks. Be sure to make extra servings of dinnertime meals, too, so you can pack them in a thermos for lunch. Many dinners are well-suited to freezing, as well, so you don’t necessarily have to use them for lunch the very next day.

8. Pack in advance!


Pack lunches the night before, so you’re not stressed or scrambling for ideas during your hectic morning rush. If you pre-slice fruits that are prone to browning (e.g., apples), sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice before packing away. If your kids think their fruit is “rotten,” it’s more likely to end up in the trash than in their tummies.

9. Involve the kids!


Get the kids involved in the planning and preparing of their lunches. They are much more likely to eat things if they were involved in the process and feel like they had choices.


10. Take a deep breath!


Remember that you are doing your best. Your love and energy goes into the food you prepare, so remain calm about these lunch box changes, and transition your menu at a pace that works best for you and your family. Don’t stress out if your lunches aren’t perfect, and try not to feel resentful or overwhelmed about the extra time and energy it takes to prepare things from scratch. Instead, reflect upon how much you love your children and that you care enough to make sure they are well-nourished. While you’re at it, why not share your feelings with your child by adding a brief hand-written note to the lunch as a finishing touch?

Did you like these tips? SUBSCRIBE HERE if you’d like to get more of our tips for natural health and happiness!