Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homemade Crock Pot Yogurt

Do you like to make your own food to save money?  Have you ever thought that yogurt prices were just way too high, especially the organic and greek yogurt?  Well, you can make your own yogurt at home!  And you don't need a special yogurt maker.  All you need is a crockpot.
       I was first introduced to making yogurt by my aunt and my sister-in-law.  At first I thought it sounded disgusting, like the yogurt would be bad because it was left "out" too long.  But that's what makes yogurt. You need warmth for the culture to grow.  
       So, here is a link to where I went when I started making yogurt: Crock Pot Yogurt.  Follow the directions exactly at first and then tweak it and experiment with it as you like.  It turns out great!  I use a strainer rested on top of a deep bowl with a extra large coffee filter in it.  Fill the coffee filter with homemade yogurt, which will be thin, and strain overnight.  In the morning you will have thick yogurt.
  

       I have recently started making yogurt out of part cow's milk, part soy milk and plan to try coconut milk soon. Hopefully this will help my son with dairy sensitivity.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Been missing our posts on this blog?  We've been on facebook!  To find us you can google "Healing Food Real Life" and a link to facebook will come up first on the list.
Or, we are at: www.facebook.com/healingfoodreallife.  Like us on facebook!  Thanks for your interest and support!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Must See Food Documentaries

When our family changed our lifestyle and started to eat "clean" we learned a lot from the holistic health center I worked at. We also watched a number of documentaries that were eye opening. If you're just starting to learn about real foods and avoiding the processed junk in the average American's diet- start here to learn a ton about what is going on in industrialized food processing. But don't say we didn't warn you! You may just never go back...and we hope you don't. Food is medicine and education is a powerful step to making changes for your health.


1.  Food Inc
This film touches on the politics of food production, farming, obesity and disease in our 21st-century diet.
http://www.takepart.com/foodinc

2.  Food Matters
This film shows that what we eat really does matter and how it affects our health, mood and happiness.
http://www.foodmatters.tv/dvds/food-matters-online-view


3.  Forks over Knives
Despite our advanced technology, this movie investigates the “disease of affluence” that can be controlled or reversed by avoiding meat and processed food.
http://www.forksoverknives.com/rentonline/

4.  Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
One mans journey to do juicing and change his life.
http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

5. Fast Food Nation
Showing the dark side of the all-American meal, this film examines the local and global influences of fast food.
http://www.foxsearchlight.com/fastfoodnation/

Healing Food: Broccoli (Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe)

Broccoli is one of our favorite green vegetables.  It is one of those eat as much as you want foods! We love to eat it as a snack raw (especially dipped in hummus), steamed, sauteed, or as a soup. 

The health benefits of broccoli are amazing. It is part of the cabbage family and is a cruciferous vegetable. They are excellent for detox, lowering cholesterol and fighting cancer.

One of the foods I missed most that we used to eat with Broccoli before we went gluten and dairy free was Broccoli Cheese Soup. We went a couple years just not having any because I couldn't find a recipe or even think of how we could copy it and still make it taste decent.  After lots of experimenting, I came up with this recipe by altering one and adding a few things of my own. Enjoy!


Vegan Broccoli "Cheese" Soup:
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6.5 cups broccoli florets
3 cups GF chicken broth
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 can coconut milk
2 TB nutritional yeast
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add broccoli, broth, chickpeas. Increase to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Puree with immersion blender until smooth. Add coconut milk and nutritional yeast.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kid Friendly, Mother Approved: "Cheesy" Lentils

My daughter (who is gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and peanut sensitive) eats more vegetables than most kids her age, probably. Not always though. She's a normal three year old that seems to eat a ton one day and hardly anything the next. If she had it her way, she would survive on rice cakes and sunbutter...oh and some raisins and juice.  We have to limit fruit or she won't eat anything else!

 We eat a lot of beans and lentils for a cheap but delicious protein. She gets pretty adventurous and eats curried chickpeas with us. Her favorite, however, is "Cheesy" Lentils that I created one day. I had bought some Nutritional Yeast and was searching for recipes to figure out how to use it. I saw some recipes for "cheesy" sauces, but wanted to make something that could be a main dish and all in one pot.  I tweaked a recipe a bit and made it work with red lentils. This is what I came up with. We make this often now because it was a hit! I like to think it's our healthy version of good old Mac N' Cheese (which she has never had). I have mixed up a "cheesy" sauce and put it on gluten free noodles also, which she loved. This is cheaper and something we can all enjoy without overdoing the carbs.

"Cheesy" Lentils

8 cups water
3 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 can coconut milk
2 GF bouillon cubes
2 TB Nutritional Yeast
1 TB garlic powder
Salt to taste
Dash of parsley

Boil water. Add all other ingredients and cook until desired consistency (about 25 minutes).

~Caroline


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gluten Free Dairy Free No Added Sugar Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Comfort Food, Aunt Kathy!  Caroline gave me this recipe and I tweaked it a bit.  These pancakes are so good you won't believe they're good for you!  And so simple to make!!  Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and No Added Sugar!  Can make them egg free by using flax seed soaked in water.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Blueberry Pancakes

2 cups GF flour mix (equal amounts of almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, and buckwheat flour)
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup blueberries

Pre-heat griddle to 300 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together.
Coat griddle with coconut oil.
Drop pancake mix onto griddle by two heaping tablespoons full for each pancake.

Eat pancakes without syrup for sugar free.  Great for on the go!

If you can't live without syrup, add 1 heaping tsp of pure maple syrup per pancake

Acidic or Alkaline?

M.C., this is for you!  Alkaline foods are so much better for you.  Acidic foods cause inflammation throughout your body which leads to so many illnesses and diseases. Check out this list of alkaline and acid foods: Alkaline and Acid Food Chart.  I also recommend you read an article on this topic by Polly.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Healing Food of the Week: Grapes

Grapes are usually eaten raw and freezing them tastes great too!  They are also used for many other foods and drinks including: wine, jam, jelly, juice, raisins, vinegar, grape seed extract, and grape seed oil.  There are red (purple), white (green), and black (dark purple) grapes.  The harvest season for grapes in Michigan is August-Sept, August-October in North Carolina.  So, right now we are enjoying them!  


Grapes and Raisins
Grapes have many benefits.  They are a great low calorie snack with only 62 calories per 1 cup.  Vitamin K in grapes has an anticoagulant effect. Grapes provide energy from natural sugars and help for your GI tract with fiber, especially when eaten as raisins.  Raisins are also a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.  The downside to raisins is the concentration of sugar (98g/cup), even if it is natural!  The most well known benefit of grapes is the antioxidants.  Antioxidants help your cells to function well and protect against heart disease and cancer. Anything made from grapes has antioxidants.

Wine
Wine is good for you but only in moderation, or not at all depending on your risk factors.  Wine's antioxidants can be beneficial to your health but can also hurt it by raising your blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic.  Too much wine can increase your breast cancer risk, among other risks.  See links below for more information.  
Benefits: Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Risks: BreastCancer.org: Drinking Alcohol
5 Negative Health Risks of Drinking Too Much Wine

The Dirty Dozen
Grapes are one of the top 12 fruits and vegetables to be covered in pesticides.  They are actually #5 on the Environmental Working Group's list for 2013. Take a look at their article about organic vs conventional fruits and vegetables: Shopper's Guide to the Dirty Dozen.  I really like their statement that fruits and vegetables have such a high nutritional value that it cancels out the downside of pesticides.  Basically, don't let the fact that you can't afford to buy organic foods get you down.  At least you are eating whole foods! But, if you want to try to eat organic, start with the "dirty dozen".

Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial

Grape Seed Extract has antibacterial properties and is used as a natural disinfectant.  The skin of grapes has an anti-fungal property.

References:

USDA Agricultural Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2316?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=25&sort=&qlookup=09131&offset=&format=Full&new=1&measureby=

About.com Local Foods
http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbyregion/a/michiganseasons.htm

http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbystate/a/northcarolinaseasons.htm

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Healing Food of the Week: Squash

Squash is an amazing healing real food that should be a part of your diet. There are so many varieties and it can be cooked and enjoyed in so many ways! We love summer and winter squash.  In Michigan, summer squash is available in July and continues to be available until about October.  Winter squash is available in September and is around until the frost comes! We love the season in September-October when both are available at the same time!  In North Carolina, all squash is available a little longer than Michigan because of the longer growing season.  Winter squash can be stored in a cool place through the winter and used for later cooking.
  

Summer squash is usually yellow or green (zucchini).  They have less sugar and are therefore considered a category one vegetable (lower glycemic). Zucchini and yellow summer squash are examples.










The easiest way to cook summer squash is to slice it and sautee it with some italian seasoning such as Penzey's Tuscan Sunset or Kirkland Tuscan seasoning and possibly some sweet onion and olive oil.  It makes a great quick summer side dish.  You can also add a little mozzerella cheese to make it taste like pizza!





Winter Squash refers to squash that is harvested later in the summer/fall when the skin has hardened. Spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkins are examples. They have more sugar and therefore are higher glycemic and a category two vegetable. If you’re watching your weight, you may want to have just one portion of the orange winter squash.  Squash seeds are edible too, and packed with vitamins and minerals.  Pumpkin seeds are awesome when roasted!



Winter squash can be cut in half and cooked in the oven (after scooping out the seeds), but the easier way is to use your crockpot!  It is so simple and saves you the muscle work needed to cut the squash in half prior to cooking.  Simply put a washed winter squash in a crockpot with about 2 tablespoons of water and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. Six hours for a small squash and about 8 for a large Butternut squash.  Two small squash can be placed in a large crockpot at once as well.  When finished, you can use a butter knife to cut it in half and easily scoop out the seeds.  Perfection!




Remember your ABC's?
All types of squash are known for their low calorie, high fiber content, which helps maintain a healthy weight. Squash is also high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B-6.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, a part of collagen formation, and a great defense against injury, illness, and disease.  Potassium is vital for cell function throughout the body and nervous system. Maintaining normal levels in critical for the heart. The darker yellow and orange squash has more beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A aids in cellular integrity, body growth, and night vision.  Vitamin B-6 helps with formation of heme, a part of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying part of the red blood cell and also aids in breaking down proteins for use by the body. 

Below are the nutrition facts for Winter and Summer Squash.

Summer Squash
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per
1 medium (196 g)
% *Daily Value
Calories
32

Total Fat
0.4 g
0%
Saturated fat
0.1 g
0%
Polyunsaturated fat
0.2 g
0%
Monounsaturated fat
0 g
0%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Sodium
4 mg
0%
Potassium
514 mg
14%
Total Carbohydrate
7 g
2%
Dietary fiber
2.2 g
8%
Sugar
4.3 g

Protein
2.4 g
4%



Vitamin A

7%
Calcium

2%
Vitamin B-6

20%
Magnesium

8%
Vitamin C

55%
Iron

3%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.



Butternut Squash (A Winter Squash)
Nutrition Facts                     
Amount Per
1 cup, cubes (140 g)
% *Daily Value
Calories
63

Total Fat
0.1 g
0%
Saturated fat
0 g
0%
Polyunsaturated fat
0.1 g

Monounsaturated fat
0 g

Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Sodium
6 mg
0%
Potassium
493 mg
14%
Total Carbohydrate
16 g
5%
Dietary fiber
2.8 g
11%
Sugar
3.1 g

Protein
1.4 g
2%



Vitamin A

297%
Vitamin B-6

10%
Vitamin C

48%
Calcium

6%
Iron

5%
Magnesium

12 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.




References:

          LeFever Kee, Joyce, MSN, RN.  (2005)  Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests with Nursing Implications (Seventh Edition).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.   

        VanStraten, Michael.  (2004)  The Healthy Food Directory.   Burnaby, British Columbia, CA: SELECT EDITIONS.
   
        Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  September 21, 2013.  Butternut Squash.  Retrieved from  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butternut_squash     
      
        Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  September 15, 2013.  Summer Squash.  Retrieved from 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_squash
      

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Counting Calories and a Real Food Lifestyle

January of 2012, it was right after Christmas and my weight had reached an all time high.  I had gone over the weight that I said I never wanted to go over in my life.  My aunt KH had just posted on facebook that she was going to try the cabbage soup diet to lose weight.  So I decided to investigate what it was all about.  I landed on http://www.cabbage-soup-diet.com/ and learned that the cabbage soup diet was homemade cabbage soup every day with certain other foods allowed each day for 7 days.  I was so determined to lose weight, I went out and bought all my food for the week after work that day.  I had never bought so much produce in my life!  What I learned from the cabbage soup diet is that certain foods, like cabbage soup, have very few calories but they fill you up.  Also, I was eating all whole real food that week! So, by the end of the 7 days, I had lost 8 pounds and was very motivated!
     
     During the cabbage soup diet, I kept track of calories on www.myfitnesspal.com. Caroline introduced me to this website.  There you can keep track of the food you've eaten for the day, and fitnesspal will calculate how many calories you have consumed.  You can enter your weight and height and how much weight you want to lose, and it will calculate a calories per day goal for you.  I learned quickly that I didn't want to waste my calories on a small food item that would use up all my calories for the meal and not fill me up.  I kept track of calories for about 4 months and began to understand portion sizes and what it felt like to reach my calorie goal.  It was fun to reach my daily goal and be able to see friends reaching their goals too!
     Over the course of the few months counting calories, I also learned about whole foods, real food, eating clean, and my eating lifestyle changed.  After a while, I didn't need to count calories anymore because I knew that I was eating lots of vegetables and foods that were not high in calorie count.  All in all, a calorie is a calorie.  So if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in.  But if you want to eat and feel full, get healthy, and help your body heal, eat a balanced diet of real food with lots of vegetables!
  
     My recommendation would be to start by counting calories until you have a lifestyle of eating real food that is balanced and meets your calorie goal.  Then you will know how to eat from day to day and you will no longer need to count calories.

-Angie  
      

Monday, September 16, 2013

Real Life

The most common questions we get when talking to people about our Real Food lifestyle are related to our busy lifestyles or "Real Life".


"How do you afford all those vegetables?" and "How do you find time to eat that way?" and "But what about snacks?" (so many people are used to packaged, processed convenient foods). You get the idea.

We understand some of us work full time, some have kids activities to go to, some have clubs and organizations that keep us busy.  We have found that the benefits of feeling amazing and being healthy far outweigh the time and inconvenience of eating this way.  Weight loss and eliminating health issues are the added bonus.  It just takes a little time and planning. Experimenting with recipes and learning where to shop are also key.

Here are some ideas we have to get you started and answer your questions on how real food is possible in real life.  Of course, we'll share more ideas and practical everyday advice throughout this blog as time goes on!


1.  Meal plan and figure out your budget. 

 If you're new to eating real food, try eating more vegetables and fruits and eliminating processed food.  Decide how much meat you can afford and search for recipes.  Meal plan for the week or month so you know what to buy. Create a grocery list. Considering your budget and your time, figure out how much produce you can buy in it's original state.  If you don't have a lot of budget restrictions, by all means, buy some produce that is pre-washed and chopped (broccoli, for instance). Maybe it's worth it to you to pay the extra money.  We buy most of our produce un-chopped to save money.

2.  Set time aside to prep food for the week.

We usually do a lot of food prepping on Sundays.  Bake muffins, cook soup, chop vegetables for recipes for the week, make a huge salad for the week.  If I don't get a ton of prepping done on one day, I'll prep food on a night that I have a meal in the crockpot.

3.  Consider the Crockpot!

Whether you work full time of stay home, it is amazing knowing that your food is cooking all day and it will be ready at dinnertime.  We cook beans, soups, squash and meats in the crockpot.  Sometimes 4-5 times per week!

4.  Cook double batches to create leftovers for lunches

This is easily done with crockpot meals, but can be done with anything you cook.  Make extra and portion into leftover containers to take to work, or just eat the next day at home.  We prefer glass, because you can then easily reheat it the next day in the microwave (and not leak nasty chemicals into your food with plastic)

5.  Set aside a night for leftovers

Everyone needs a break!  Have one night a week where you eat leftovers.  Maybe that's the night that you prep food for other days or you bake something to freeze for the week.  Or just relax! Your freezer is stocked full of food for the next day's lunch :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What is REAL food??



Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines real as: "not fake, false, or artificial". So first let me tell you what real food is not.  Any artificial (made by man, not nature) sweetener, flavor, coloring, or preservative is not real food.  I don't care if it makes it look good in the package, preserves it so you can have it two months after it was made, or tickles your taste-buds with it's sweetness, it's not real food, therefore it may harm you.  If your plan is to improve your health, stay away from fake foods/additives.  Eat real foods that are healing!
  The real food, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and milk, is found at the perimeter of the grocery store.  Fresh foods are there for you to make meals from scratch.  Don't be afraid of "from scratch".  I was at first but then I realized it just means to make something yourself with basic whole ingredients.  
  There are plenty of real food recipes out there that are easy to follow.  Some are as simple as chopping some vegetables and adding spices.  We will share some of our "tried and true" real food recipes to help you get started.  If you truly don't know how to cook, don't know how to get started, or don't have the time, we can help.  Contact us to make arrangements.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cabbage "Un-Rolls"

I love using the crockpot to make real food cooking easy for our busy life with kids! Dinner is ready quickly and we have lots of leftovers to pack for lunches!  Here is a recipe I modified from Cabbage Rolls. It turns out a lot like lasagna. I decided it was a lot of work to roll the cabbage and they usually just fell apart anyway!

Cabbage "Un-Rolls" Lasagna: 

One head green cabbage, onions, black olives, spaghetti sauce (I use Kirkland signature brand), Tuscan Italian seasoning (Kirkland as well), 1 lb. ground turkey cooked, salt, pepper. Optional: Cut redskin potatoes. Cut the end of the cabbage off and peel leaves. Put some sauce on the bottom of crockpot and layer with cabbage leaves. Layer turkey, onions, black olives, spices and more sauce. Could also add goat cheese or organic cheese if not dairy free. Repeat layers until crockpot is full! 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Messy when served but delicious :) 

~Caroline

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Welcome!

Welcome to our new blog and website. We created this blog because we have a passion for real food. We're sisters in two different states, but want to share our practical ideas for how to eat real food with as many people as we can!  The last two years we have changed our ways of eating dramatically. Both of us used to eat a pretty standard American diet.  We have always had to work hard to watch our weight, count calories, watch portions, etc.  But, we didn't think too much about the types of foods we were eating. Sure, we knew vegetables were good for you, but we didn't eat enough of them.  Luckily we loved vegetables, so it wasn't hard to make them the center of our diet when we both decided to.  

Through working at two different Holistic Health Centers we discovered how important it is to have the right balance of foods in our diet.  Once we started cooking all real foods and special diets, we came up with a number of ways to make such a whole foods diet possible with a busy family lifestyle. We work and have busy lives with family and kids.  We're excited to share with you a number of practical tips and recipes for how this all works on an everyday basis!  

We also created the discussion forum so that everyone can get in on the conversation and ask questions, share recipes, or tell their story for others to hear. We'd love to hear everyone's story about their journey to health whether it's about striving to add more real foods to your diet, eating an all plants based diet, or doing a special diet (such as gluten or dairy free).  Thanks for joining us on the journey to health!

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