Monthly Archives: December 2012

Is there a point where it’s too late to benefit from eating healthy?

I thought I would write about the passive way some people have “asked” me about the benefits of healthy eating and lifestyle.  This very “question” was prompted on me yesterday.  As I was discussing the benefits of juicing vegetables/fruits/herbs with a colleague, an acquaintance who happened to be within earshot decided to join the conversation – well, more along the lines of listen.  This particular man is about 50 years old, decently overweight and has mentioned to me previously how he feels tired much of the time.  I will never forget when he found out I don’t drink coffee.  He nearly jumped out of his skin exclaiming, “I would never get out of bed/get off the couch/get up from my chair if there wasn’t coffee!  It is my fuel to get through each day!  No coffee, that’s crazy!”

As this man listened to the conversation about juicing, I could tell he was intrigued, but not at the point where he was ready to ask questions directly about juicing or eating healthier.  So once the conversation wrapped up and my colleague and I split ways, this acquaintance said to me nonchalantly, “I’m too old and I’ve been eating like crap for way too long.  Damage is already done – there’s no sense for me to eat healthy – it just won’t matter.”  So you see how this man did not ask me a question, but yet, he was looking for an answer from me.  This type of passive question has been asked to me several times.  I find the people asking the question in this manner are a bit fearful of change – perhaps concerned they cannot change so they throw some cop out excuse aloud and continue living by just getting through each day.  But a portion of these folks want help.  They want to feel better – they want to live each day, not just get through it.

Are you wondering where I’m going with this?  Well, I have a story that answers this very “question” and would like to share it.  Here’s your answer naysayers.

This nonfiction story is about a rabbit whose name was Snowy.  Yes, I am comparing rabbit findings to humans.  We do this all the time with lab animals.  Now if only lab animals were treated how Snowy was…anyway, here’s a picture of the little guy.

Image

Snowy was born in January 1999 and he became my little guy in February of that year.  Allow me to give you some background information about Snowy’s lifestyle initially.  He was more like a pet dog.  He roamed freely around the house living with an eighty-pound dog, was potty-trained, very social and affectionate.  So just like a family dog, Snowy began to eat human food.  The first 5 years of his life (his life span was 6-8 years) he ate an abundance of rabbit feed (which I didn’t know was so bad for him at the time) and a lot of human food.  Cereals, breads, pizza (meatless obviously) and candy were staples in his diet.  He even enjoyed wasabi peas…I know, so weird.

Snowy was 5 years old when something went very wrong.  I remember walking into my bedroom and seeing him sitting very stiff in a corner facing the wall.  This was very unusual.  In fact I could not remember a time he acted that way.  I rushed to him and he wanted nothing to do with me – just to be left alone.  The ultimate giveaway that something was seriously wrong was that he refused to eat.  Does this sound familiar (you know s/he is really sick because they will not eat)?

I rushed Snowy to the ER vet, where he was admitted and remained in their overnight facility for 5 nights.  His entire GI tract was blocked with all sorts of foods just rotting away.  The foods were not flowing properly through his digestive system causing him much discomfort.  His digestive system began to shut down.  He was in extremely bad shape.

Snowy came home 6 days later with medication.  Not just medication for his GI tract, but also for a heart condition and moderately severe arthritis in his right hind-leg.  Turned out his lifestyle left his body in an extremely inflammatory and sickly state.

Snowy began a strict diet of nutritious vegetables.  His staples were dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, parsley, all types of lettuce (well, not iceberg).  I had cushioned flooring placed throughout the house to ensure he would be able to exercise with his arthritic leg.  We no longer lived with a dog, but Snowy had 4 stuffed animal geese that he carried around with him that kept him company as you can see from the picture below (sorry it’s a bit dark).

Image

This amazing guy passed away in October of 2011 at the age of 12 years, 9 months.  If you recall  earlier I mentioned his lifespan was estimated to be between 6 and 8 years.  Well, he doubled that lower number.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, Snowy no longer needed his heart medication 3 years after it was prescribed to him.  Yes,

My point in telling this story is it is never too late to benefit from incorporating healthy habits into your life.  Snowy was banging on death’s door at 5 years old, which roughly translates into 55 human years.  In my opinion, my acquaintance mentioned earlier in this post is in a better state of health than Snowy was when he was sick.  So if Snowy was able to turn things completely around, why can’t my acquaintance or anyone else throwing in the towel touting “it’s too late for me”?

Another note on this – is it just me or have you noticed lately more people shelling out this excuse so they can justify their lifestyle?  I know the economy is bad and the news is continuously bad, but don’t these people want something uplifting in their lives?  If anything I would think any controllable aspect of life would be set to a positive station since so much of what we cannot control is negative.  Thoughts?

-RealFoodsLady

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What is the best way to juice? Blue Print Cleanse vs. home juicing!

Hi everyone!

This post will be comparing my homemade juice cleanse to the Blue Print Cleanse (3-day excavation) I did about a 3 months ago.  If you missed my review of the Blue Print Cleanse excavation juice, you can read about it here.

There are a few aspects that I will compare.  These are cost, nutrient quality, taste and convenience.  Let’s begin with cost:

BPC – you will receive 6 – 16oz juices per day at a cost of $65/day plus $10/day for shipping.  So if you order a 3 day cleanse, you will pay $65(3) + $10(3) = $225.  You will receive a total of 288oz of juice to be consumed within 3 days.  Hold on 1 moment – Whole Foods is now carrying Blue Print Cleanse juices so you can forget about those nasty shipping costs.  Now this is not at ALL Whole Food locations.  At the Whole Foods on Kingsbury in Chicago, the juices ranges from $6.99 – $9.99 per bottle.  So 6 bottles per day will range from $42 – $60 per day.  Better than $75/day!  And you can then mix/match per your preference.

In preparation for my 3 day homemade juice cleanse, I went to Whole Foods and grabbed enough fruits and vegetables for the 1st 2 day of the cleanse.  As I am sure you know, Whole Foods, aka “the (w)hole” (as in where did my money go?) is pricey.  I checked out with 3 bunches of organic kale, 1 bunch organic dino kale, 2 bunches of organic celery, 4 organic lemons, 4 organic cucumbers, 6 organic pink lady apples, a few ounces of ginger root and 2 bunches of organic italian parsley for $36.  As soon as I walked in the door I made a 16oz juice using 1 cucumber, 2 leaves kale, 2 leaves dino kale, 2 celery stalks, 1/4 of a pink lady apple and a 1/4 inch slice of ginger.  Without doing the math, I can safely say making your own juice is less expensive than ordering Blue Print Cleanse.  But you do need a juicer…and that can easily set you back a few hundred bucks.

As for nutrient quality, you will most likely have higher quality nutrients in your homemade juice simply because it is more fresh.  I know BPC has expiration dates on their juices (I believe they last for 1 week from date made).  The nutrient quality also depends on the type of juicer used.  I use a slow masticating juicer to keep the nutrients more intake.  This does not heat up and further oxidize (resulting in lower nutrient quality) the produce during the juicing process as do centrifugal style juicers.  As for the juicers used by BPC, I am not sure.  Most commercial juice bars use centrifugal style juicers so they are able to churn out juice orders quickly.  In my opinion, nutrient quality winner is homemade juice.

As for the taste, well this is a no-brainer.  When making your own homemade juice, you can add fruits/veggies/herbs based on your taste preferences.  If you are new to juicing and decide to take the plunge by making homemade juice, your first few juices may not taste great.  Without experience you will not know how much or how little to use.  But this can be fun!  When I initially experimented with home juicing I enjoyed testing different juices.  Yes, it may cost more because you may end up wasting some produce (I made the mistake of using way too much ginger root – to the point where the juice could not be saved).  Another note on this  topic is BPC uses agave to sweeten some of its juices.  I do not use agave as a sweetener and do not wish to have agave in any of my juices.  Customization – that is a definite advantage of home juicing.

Convenience – hands down BPC.  No produce to purchase, no time spent juicing, no time spent researching how much of each ingredient to use, no time spent cleaning up after juicing – oh so simple.

Reasons to juice using BPC – new to juicing, convenience, do not have a local produce store near you, don’t want to invest in a juicer.

Reasons to make homemade juices – have the time, experience, in this for the long haul (to justify the expense of a juicer), very particular about how you would like your juice made, ensure nutrient quality at its highest levels by juicing daily.

Either way – juicing is great for you so have at it!!!  Any questions/comments, you know where to find me.

-RealFoodsLady

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The most delicious and nutritious muffins EVER!

Apple Cinnamon Muffin

Apple Cinnamon Muffin

Unfortunately in our society today, the vast majority of Americans are plagued by food.  The overeating, the over processed foods, the lack of knowledge, the culture of celebrating all occasions with fatty, artificial and chemically processed desserts has led us to the grossly shocking statistic that 2/3 of America is either overweight or obese!  I have been fighting against these statistics advocating for a healthier population.

The problem I have encountered lies in the fact each of us can only do so much.  Whether it be tackling the day-to-day family requirements or being that key team player keeping your office together.  I have been helping people over the last 8 years learn about how the food you eat, or don’t eat, affects your health and well-being.  I have had terrific clients who have made great strides towards living healthier cleaner lives.  And what is truly amazing is watching my clients teach others – I love this domino effect!  I’ve been at client’s homes and seen first-hand their children choosing healthier snacks because the children see how mommy and daddy snack and emulate those habits.  So instead of the child reaching for an ice cream bar as a treat, they reach for sliced apples or a homemade all-natural nut bar (that I taught mommy how to make).

So getting back to how I plan on helping more people.  Obviously teaching people on an individual basis is great, but also limits how many people I can help because there is only so much time in a day.  I have spoken at meetings on nutrition and food where there are 40-50 people.  Then I am able to reach more people, but the results aren’t as great as with one-on-one coaching.  What to do…what to do…If only I could be in more places at the same time.

The more and more I thought about this, I continued circling the idea of a super healthy food product that would be very convenient for people.  I am sure you see people everyday eating different bars – protein bars, low carb bars, diet bars, gluten-free bars, etc. (you may be one of them)  I have personally searched high and low for a bar that met my healthy bar requirement and came up with zilch.  You’re probably thinking this is impossible because there are hundreds of bars available.  Yes, there are and I am surprised as well.  The reason I haven’t found a bar suitable for myself is I set the bar very high.  My framework for a “healthy” bar or snack food is listed below.  You may want to sit down before reading this list.

*only use the most pure, least amount of processed ingredients – REAL food ingredients!

*use organic ingredients whenever possible

*no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, no additives, no fillers, no genetically modified foods (GMOs)

*no trans-fats

*under 1 gram of sugar WITHOUT the use of sugar alcohols  (sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol, maltitol) or fructo-polysaccharides, such as inulin and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides).  When I first personally experimented with sugar-free products I tried each of the above alternative sweeteners as they were listed as being natural.  Each and every one of these gave me cramping, major bloating, flatulence and a laxative-like effect.  Also, I do not find it natural to extract one component of a food found in nature and then mass produce that component into a concentrated form, one which was never intended by nature to be consumed in such a concentrated manner.

*low carb and low glycemic index, meaning under 15 net grams of carbohydrates

*high fiber, meaning more than 4 grams of fiber

*high protein, meaning more than 3 grams of protein

*under 195 calories

*no use of animal-products (no dairy, no eggs, no casein, no gelatin, vegan)

*soy-free

*free of MSG

*kosher

*are easily accessible as a grab ‘n’ go convenience food (available to anyone within the 48 contiguous States)

*make you feel good after consuming because there are actual NUTRIENTS in the food that have not been processed out, including healthy Omega 3’s

Now you see why I cannot find a bar that fits my guideline of “healthy”.  So I placed the challenge on myself.  Come up with a food product that meets all my expectations of a pure healthy food.  As I looked at the above framework, I knew I had my work cut out.  I hit the kitchen and after 2 years of baking, food experimentation, recipe development and taste-testing I have come up with a product that fits!  I have developed a line of muffins under the name Mind Your Muffin that are so delicious even kids love them.

Below are a couple frequently asked questions and my answers.  Please feel free to ask other questions!

Q: How are these muffins convenient?  Wouldn’t you have to purchase these muffins freshly made and because there are no preservatives, wouldn’t they only last a few days?

A: These muffins will only last a few days (5-7) stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  However, if you freeze them they will last up to 9 months.  Yes, I have tested these muffins and they have lasted 9 months in the freezer.  The muffins are individually wrapped and as long as they are kept individually wrapped in a freezer safe bag or wrap, you can grab a muffin from the freezer and 2-3 hours later it will be ready to eat.  For those of us who can’t wait 2-3 hours for thawing time, you may place the muffin in a toaster oven (about 3 mins at 350 degrees) or microwave (30-60 seconds on high).

Q: Where can I purchase these muffins?  Are they available in my grocer’s freezer?

A: These muffins are available to be purchased directly from me.  You can send a comment below to order or email me at mindyourmuffin@gmail.com.  The muffins are $3.75 each or a dozen for $40.  The muffins will be shipped to you the day they are made.  To keep muffins fresh and keep shipping costs as low as possible, I use USPS 2 day shipping.  The cost is approximately $11 per dozen and the muffins arrive in a box individually wrapped and kept in place by a muffin holder.  This ensures the muffins will  not move much during the shipping process.

Q: What flavors are available?

A: Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Lemon Poppy and Gingerbread.

Q: Is there a website available with nutrition information and ingredients?

A: MindYourMuffin.com is currently under construction, but will soon allow you to order directly online and browse ingredients and nutrition information.

Q: I noticed your muffins are not gluten free.  Do you make gluten free products?

A: Currently we do not sell gluten free products.  However, these muffins have a very low gluten content so some people who have an intolerance (not allergy or celiac) can still enjoy these muffins!  Although I have made and approved several gluten free products, these are currently not available for sale due to higher cost.  The gluten free line may be made available for purchase in the future, along with other product lines, such as high protein muffins.

Q: Are Mind Your Muffin muffins safe for diabetics?

A: I have had much success with diabetic clients using these muffins as an everyday snack food.  Because there is virtually no sugar (all muffins have 1 gram of sugar or less) and low carbohydrate content, there is not a spike in blood sugar levels.  Also they do not experience the usual cramping, bloating, flatulence or laxative-like effect from eating typical sugar-free items available.

Q: How do you sweeten your muffins?

A: I use the purest form of stevia sweetener I have been able to find.  After trying over 35 different preparations of stevia, I found one that met all my healthy criteria and that tasted great.  Although the price is higher for a purer, less processed form of stevia, Mind Your Muffin is about quality and will never sacrifice quality to lower costs.

So by bringing these healthy muffins into the homes of people across America, I am able to help make great food choices everyday even when that sugar tooth craving flares up.  Until I figure out how to clone myself, Mind Your Muffin will carry my message.  Let’s be mindful about the food we eat and lose our muffin-tops!

Lemon Poppy Muffin

Lemon Poppy Muffin

Apple Cinnamon Muffin

Gingerbread Muffin

Pumpkin Spice Muffin

Pumpkin Spice Muffin

-RealFoodsLady

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