Skip to content

Satisfying that Sweet Tooth

Most people’s weakness is dessert. They can do well most of the day…eat healthy, avoid temptation…but its when that cake comes out at work to celebrate someone’s birthday or that delicious dessert menu pops up after dinner… it is so hard to resist!!!!

Especially if you’ve been avoiding sugar all week and are suffering from withdrawals. We all need a sugar fix once in a while.

I am not tempted by all sweets. You can offer me cheesecake or flan or a key lime pie and I will pass without suffering. But I did have a weakness, like we all do. Chocolate chip cookies and Nutella. I could literally eat 10 chocolate chips in a row or a bowl of Nutella and be happy. Not to mention the raw chocolate chip cookie dough without the chips. When I started this journey, I felt sad to think I was giving up these yummies. No more half baked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on Friday nights. ūüė¶

Well, my doctor told me that chocolate is actually GOOD for you! What a concept! Something that is so delicious is good for me? Well it is, but there’s a catch…what’s bad isn’t the chocolate…its all the milk and sugar and corn syrup and extra stuff they add to it to make it sweet. You see raw chocolate is actually quite bitter. So my doctor suggested that I try dark chocolate. Anything over 72% cacao. ¬†I went to Walgreens and bought myself a Ghirardelli’s 72% chocolate bar. Brought it home and gave a square to Orlando and one for myself. We sat there in silence with this bitter piece of chocolate on our tongues…and the craziest thing happened!!!! When you let it sit on your tongue, instead of chewing it up and swallowing right away, the flavors of the chocolate start coming alive! After a couple of minutes we actually started enjoying it. I decided I would allow myself anywhere from 1 to 3 little squares per evening to satisfy my sweet tooth.

AND THERE BEGAN OUR DARK CHOCOLATE OBSESSION!

We started experimenting with darker chocolates and after trying several different ones have grown to love 85% Dark Chocolate. Our favorite brand is called GREEN AND BLACK ORGANIC 85% CHOCOLATE. ¬†We also like the Ghirardelli 85%. We treat ourselves every evening for dinner. The truth is that we’ve ¬†grown to love it so much that now if we taste milk chocolate, its actually too sweet for us. At least in my case, it has eliminated my desire for other sweets. I’ve even gone as far as taking a bar in my purse when I’m going out to dinner or to a family event…so when dessert comes out I can have my piece of chocolate. I don’t do this to be psycho! I do it because in the situations I haven’t done it and I’ve eaten the cupcake or other sweet, my stomach aches a little and I regret it soon after.

Of course these chocolates still contain sugar. In the organic one they put the evaporated cane juice…but it is sugar. But life is about BALANCE. And it is much better to have 15% of sugar added than 60-70%. And the cacao has great benefits for your body…and at least in my case…chocolate makes me happy! So I think its a great option. Since we eat it every night, we really don’t feel like we are depriving ourselves from the sweet stuff. And at the very beginning, it really got me through the drastic change my body underwent in eliminating so much sugar from my daily diet.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that one day you can’t have cake at a party, or treat yourself to a key lime pie. We all need moderation. But I think if you give the dark chocolate a try, it might reduce the anxieties that come from craving something sweet and help you avoid the bad stuff much more often.

If any of you have already begun this dark chocolate transition, please comment and let us know what your experience has been.

Have a sweet day!

Advertisements

Eggs and Avocados- a recipe we just discovered!

I get so excited when I get a recipe from a fellow healthy eater and it’s delicious. This weekend a good friend of ours suggested we try the following for breakfast.

Hard boiled eggs
Avocado
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Just Mash it all together and serve for breakfast.

Can I tell you that I tried it this morning and I was blown away!

It was totally delicious and so easy to make. The only thing I had to do was boil the eggs which took about 15 minutes. Then I cut open the avocado, put the olive oil and salt and mixed it together.

The ratio I used was 2 eggs and 1/2 an avocado because that’s what I happened to have available.

It was also a nice variation from my regular morning smoothies. I’ll confess I felt a little guilty not getting all my fruits and veggies in the morning but I know I replaced them with good protein and fats which are also essential.

For those who are in a rush in the mornings:

Hard boiled eggs are quite easy because they can be cooked in batches. On any given night hard boil about 5-10 eggs (depending on your family size) and put them back in the egg carton. We get a marker and just write on the shell HB. The shell comes off and it’s how we differentiate them from the non cooked eggs. You can also tell by shaking the egg. Then in the morning you can peel and combine with the avocado. You can also take the boiled egg and avocado with you and make at work for snack or lunch… So it can be portable also.

I highly recommend you try this recipe. And it really doesn’t have to be limited to a breakfast food. I would have this for a snack in the middle of the day also.

I’m in love!!!!!!

I did a quick search on the benefits of these 2 foods and I found this informative short paragraph on both foods. Read below…

Eggs are one of our best sources of high-quality complete protein, which is easily absorbed and has all of the amino acids the body needs. Eggs are also high in choline, a phospholipid compound similar to B-vitamins that many cells in the body utilize. Choline plays a large role in gene expression, and may prevent long-term memory loss., Choline is also essential in the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerves and muscles. With more than 90% of Americans choline-deficient, incorporating eggs into your diet is an easy fix. Just be sure to use the egg yolk when making your morning scramble – since this is where all of the choline and vitamins are stored.
We’ve come to think of orange foods as the best source of carotenoids (carotenoids might make you think carrots, right?). But dark green vegetables actually get their trademark deep green color from a mixture of the green pigment chlorophyll with the orange-pigmented carotenoids.

Avocados boast incredibly high carotenoid levels, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. What does anti-inflammatory really mean for us? Inflammation is the body’s protective response to toxins, pollutants, and other harmful invaders. Inflammation can decrease short-term cell function and over time causes permanent damage. Nutritious foods with anti-inflammatory properties help us minimize those damaging effects. You already know that avocados are a great source of heart-healthy fats, and that just adds to their superfood status: avocados have a truly unique mixture of fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidant plant pigments, and antioxidants, which have been linked to decreased risk for cancer.

http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/26/10833035-secret-superfoods-youre-already-eating?lite

Fool Proof, Easy, Works Every Time Veggie Recipe

What is it about veggies that most of us just don’t want to eat them? I say its bad memories. Its the memory of the soggy broccoli you had at a restaurant or the canned vegetables your mother made you eat for dinner. The truth is that most people sabotage vegetables. Its not the vegetable…its the preparation. Boiling and over steaming are probably the biggest culprits.

But when you decide that you have to make vegetables the biggest part of your daily diet…you better find a way to enjoy them or you’re in big trouble. We have definitely found a cooking method that works:

ROASTING 

The recipe we are about to share with you is the most basic, embarrassingly simple way to cook almost any vegetable and LOVE it.

Here’s what you do:

Take Asparagus for example:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • drizzle olive oil and some salt on asparagus (Trim an inch from the bottom)
  • toss in a bowl
  • lay flat on top of parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet
  • cook for 30 minutes (time may vary depending on vegetable and your oven. You need to be vigilant the first few times you make the vegetables so you can note the time that is right for you. You don’t want to overcook the vegetable but you also don’t want it to be too hard)

THAT’S IT.

Other veggies you can try this method with include:

  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato
  • parsnip (trim an inch off the bottom)
  • green beans (trim off the ends)
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • beets
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • red and green peppers
  • garlic (to use in soups and other recipes…yummy)
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to combine the vegetables in one tray. While they generally have different cooking times, a combination of asparagus, carrots and brussel sprouts, for example, will cook well together.

This cooking method has allowed us to start this love affair with vegetables. Caveat:¬†We don’t like using this method on broccoli because we find it to be too dry. We will post another recipe for broccoli, but we encourage you to try any and all of these veggies using this simple recipe.

What’s so great about this recipe is that you don’t need fancy ingredients or techniques and you don’t have to be a great cook to pull this off. Even I can cook this and I rely entirely on my husband to do the cooking.

We usually use this method at dinner time and we tend to make a large portion. We love leftovers because our kids go to sleep so early that they won’t enjoy this veggie until the next day. ¬†We also sometimes double up on the veggies…for example we’ll make roasted butternut squash and green beans and use the squash as the carb.

But another great little perk is that I incorporate the leftovers in my meals the next day.

For example: My absolute favorite is to have the roasted butternut squash in my fridge for a few days to put in my salads. It is DELICIOUS! I also snack on it if I’m hungry and I need a snack. I just heat it up and eat a few bites and its filling and healthy.

If we have left over red beets I also put it in our salads the next day, but sometimes I make a beet smoothie in the morning.

We try to make our morning and afternoon vegetables RAW because that is the way you get the most vitamins and minerals from the vegetable. But it is nice to throw in a cooked vegetable into your salad every once in a while and keep it interesting.

We hope you’ll put this recipe to the test this week and try as many vegetables as you dare!!!

GOOD LUCK AND REMEMBER…PILE ON THE GREENS!!!

Green smoothie

This morning I made the family a green smoothie.

Here’s what I put:

Celery
Kale
Romaine lettuce
Apple
Banana
Honey
Water

I made this smoothie because Justin had a fever last night and I’m not sure if he’s teething or coming down with a cold. I thought the honey would be good for him.

I will confess it wasn’t his favorite. But he drank most of it and then I gave him a few craisins which he loves. I’m constantly trying new ingredients in my smoothies knowing that it may be hit or miss. But this is the only way to find the ones we absolutely love. It’s a process!!!!

Orly loved it though which shows that it’s really important to get the kids to try everything. It’s not a guarantee they’ll like it and each child is different but exposure plants the seed which is all we can do!

TGIF!!!!

We all look forward to the weekend so we can relax, sleep in (if we don’t have children!), and do whatever we want to do. But if you’re new to eating healthy, you might be a little afraid of the weekend because with the routine goes the packed lunches, the planned dinners, and the smoothies for breakfast. We used to feel the same way. We didn’t want to eat completely unhealthy but we also didn’t want to feel like we were on a diet and couldn’t eat a pizza if we wanted to. So we do a little bit of both.

One of our favorite weekend things to do used to be going to Chili’s for lunch. Lunch is good for us because our kids are little and we like to put them to bed early. Then we looked up the nutrition guide online for Chili’s and that was the end of that. ¬†The queso dip, which was my favorite, is scary bad for you!!!!!! So we stopped doing that, and that kind of sucked.

But then we found an alternative.  There is a new little place we found that we love:

Green Shack Juice Bar

Categories: Vegetarian, Juice Bars & Smoothies, Gluten-Free

9818 SW 77 Ave
Miami, FL 33156

(305) 279-1955

This place is tiny and doesn’t have a lot of options. But its owned by a young, married couple with their 6 kids and we like them a lot. The food they have is good. My favorite smoothies they have are The Crazy Monkey (I ask for NO agave) and The Hulk.

They also add their daily menu on Facebook so you can see what they have on Saturday and choose whether to go there or not.  Unfortunately they are closed on Sundays.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Shack-Juice-Bar/224242410971869

For the rest of the weekend, our suggestion is try to pay attention to your choices. If you go out to dinner and eat pasta maybe try to avoid the bread. Or add more veggies to your meal than you normally did. Instead of having a mixed drink with tons of sugar in it…have a glass of wine instead. Or if you go to a cuban restaurant, try to avoid the rice. We have grown to love black beans as a soup instead of on top of rice. Orlando can confess he thought that would never be possible and yet he loves it now!

If you’re having dinner at home with friends, experiment with a cool new meal like the cauliflower pizza.¬†http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/01/16/cauliflower-crust-hawaiian-pizza

And don’t forget to carve out a little time this weekend to plan your meals for next week. Maybe even visit a local farmer’s market and check out some interesting vegetables or fruits that you can try.

Have a great weekend!!!

Cabbage soup

BY ORLANDO:

One of our staple recipes in our home has become CABBAGE SOUP. We receive “shares” of different organic veggies and fruits every week. One week’s share had a head of cabbage in it, and I had no idea what to do with it. For a week I would look at it in the refridgerator with both fear and contempt. Caro suggested I make a soup out of it, so I looked up some recipies. I found a Weight Watcher’s recipe that got extremely high ratings. I read the reviews and took suggestions from others who have already made the soup (as you should do any time you follow a recipe). I added the red beans, which I think really round-out the soup. I also added the asparagus and the Rotele sauce in place of tomato paste. Feel free to add or subtract any vegetable you want. The soup is amazing. You can eat all you want because it is nothing but healthy, delicious goodness. I make this once a week and have leftovers for Caro, the boys, and myself throughout the week.

One quick storage note: You may want to seperate the broth from the veggies when storing because the veggies soak-in the broth and leave you with very little broth for leftovers. I considered adding more broth to the recipe, but with all of the ingredients already in the recipe, my pot would over-flow.

a8874c25a4f13457e7ef0d3901786568

  • 40 ounces of beef broth (you can add less in place of more veggie broth if you want. But the beef broth is awesome)
  • 14 ounces veggie broth (1 small can…you can add more in place of beef broth if you want)
  • 1/2 of a large head of cabbage sliced
  • 1 leak sliced
  • 1/2 of an onion sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 5 ounces of Rottele original tomato sauce (just over half of a small can…if you don’t like spicy buy the mild, but I found the original to be perfect)
  • 1/2 cup of carrots sliced
  • 2 zucchini sliced in thick chunks (about 1 inch so they don’t turn to mush in the soup)
  • 2 yellow squash slice thick chunks
  • 1 cup green beans trimmed (cut in bite-sized pieces. They can be a bit waxy in the soup, so you can just add more asparagus in their place)
  • half a bunch of asparagus (cut in bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans small red beans (or whatever bean you like)and dont forget to drain the liquid from the can first!
  • You can add a handful or two of spinach leaves in the last 5 minutes of the cooking process so they just wilt.
  • olive oil
  • Salt (I salt as I go adding veggies)
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsp dry oregano

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook olive oil, leaks, onions, jalape√Īo, carrots, and garlic in soup pot for 5 minutes at med-high heat. Add a sprinkle of salt at some point while stirring.

2. Add cabbage, squash, zucchini, green beans, and red beans. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano and stir at med-high until veggies cook down a bit (like 5 minutes). Optional: You can also add asparagus, mushrooms, spinach…read below

3. Add Rottele sauce and stir for 3-4 more minutes.

4. Add the beef and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

5. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper if it needs it.

BY CAROLINE:

NOTE: This soup is the perfect example of two of the principles we follow:

1. TRY NEW FOODS: We had never had cabbage before, nor thought of buying it in the first place. But we are members of a coop that allows us to purchase organic fruits and vegetables at a better price straight from the farmers. The catch with this coop is that you get what you get. You don’t get to choose. So when our box brought a huge head of cabbage, we had no idea what to do with it. We put it off for about a week and then I told Orlando, we need to make this cabbage before it goes to waste. He looked up recipes with Cabbage and decided to try to the Cabbage Soup. Had it not been because we were FORCED into working with this vegetable, we would have never discovered this soup which we LOVE! Not only is it delicious but it is so hearty that it allows us to skip an animal protein on the nights we eat it. And we can have seconds without guilt because it is literally like drinking a bowl of medicine. Nothing but good healthy ingredients!

2. PILE ON THE GREENS: Orlando has taken this concept quite seriously and this is a perfect opportunity to apply this principle. Not only does Orlando put the veggies in the recipe…every time he makes it he adds something new. Now he makes the soup with SPINACH, MUSHROOMS, ASPARAGUS. He even tried SWEET POTATO last time although that wasn’t my favorite. The point is that you can add anything you want. If there is a veggie that you’re unlikely to try on its own or is not your favorite, just hide it in the soup. The more veggies, the better.

And yes…our kids eat this soup also!!! We make a huge pot of it and we have it in the fridge for several days. I serve it as lunch for us a couple of days later and I give it to the kids for dinner the following day. I play with it with the kids, for example: one day I’ll give it to Justin (my 1 1/2 year old) as soup, but the next day I’ll get his portion and blend it in the blender and make a puree to change the consistency for him. Another day I’ll make it on a bed of quinoa pasta or germinated brown rice, or I’ll make them a sweet potato and combine the two to make it a bit sweeter. I always try to keep it interesting for them. With my 3 year old, I make him guess what veggies are in there and we spend the whole meal talking about them. I’ve noticed the more I talk to him about the veggies, the more open he is to trying them.

WE HOPE YOU CAN MAKE THIS SOUP A STAPLE IN YOUR HOME ALSO!

The Price of Eating Healthy

As with everything in life, there is a major concern with eating healthy…how much it costs! Everyone knows it is more expensive to eat healthy than not. Shopping at places like Whole Foods or Fresh Market can really hurt your wallet and some people simply can not afford it…. or can they?

I have definitely increased my grocery expenses in the past year. I am in no better or worse position than the average middle class family to incur this added expense. So how is it that I CAN afford it and others can’t? My argument is about priorities.

Everyone complains about not having enough money. Some can’t afford to live in a big house. Others can’t afford to own an expensive car, or send their kids to private school, or travel, or buy expensive clothing and purses. And for each person that complains about not affording something, that person has an expense the other can’t afford. The mom who can’t afford to drive a nice car, but her daughter goes to an expensive private school. The couple who can’t afford to own their own home, but travel to exotic places.

My point is that we are all spending money. It is a matter of choices and priorities what you spend your money on. Some spend in on True Religion jeans, others spend it on dining out at the latest “IN” club or restaurant, some spend it on golf, others spend it on cigarrettes. We all make these choices.

So what about food? I tend to think that there is a perception about food that it should not be expensive because it is a basic necessity and not a luxury. Not everyone needs a GUCCI purse, but everyone needs to eat. Its the same reason we all complain about Gas prices. Why are these basic needs bleeding our wallets to death?

My view on this is that food is no longer treated as a basic need. We have such an oversupply of all food products that what we eat has become a luxury. Groceries are stocked to their capacity. We have so many choices, and we constantly abuse this privilege and over consume food which leads to the problems we are facing with our weight and health. So in order to please the masses, greedy companies choose to use the cheapest ingredients they can find (i.e., corn syrup) to make the biggest possible profit on the quantities of food they sell. AND WE ALL BUY INTO IT.

We buy into the convenience, the pre packaging, the perceived value (look I can get 2 boxes of Lucky Charms for the price of one!) But there is a price to eating this stuff that we don’t necessarily calculate in our monthly budget. For example, the price of weight loss products that we are constantly buying to try to lose weight; the price of the medicine we use to treat the conditions that our bad diet causes (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, etc.), the price of wasted food…how many of us buy tons of soda because we got such a good deal on it, and a couple of weeks later realize the soda is completely flat and has to be tossed. Or the bread is moldy, or the chips are stale. We buy cheap food and therefore we don’t care that much about it, so if we go out to eat all weekend and on Monday have to throw spoiled food away, we don’t pay much attention.

I have adopted a different strategy towards the food I eat. My husband and I buy expensive food. Organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, expensive meats… all pricey. HOWEVER, in my house, we eat what we buy. We do not throw away spoiled food because quite frankly we can’t afford to! ¬†If I cut up a few slices of an organic apple for my salad, and I have the other half of the apple remaining, I toss it into my smoothie instead of putting it into the refrigerator to turn brown and find it a week later. We eat out less. We typically don’t go out to eat for lunch, and we don’t order food during the week because we make enough food to always have left overs. ¬†I hope to be able to say that in the future, our biggest savings will come from our medical bills….Of course, that remains to be seen!

Part of the biggest problem with healthy food is the vicious cycle we’re in. Healthy food is expensive so we don’t buy it, but since we don’t buy it continues to be expensive. What if all we bought was the expensive stuff and the grocery stores were left with all the junk food? They would definitely start ordering less of it and more of the good stuff. And the more good stuff they get, the cheaper it gets. ¬†So what if we all bought what we needed. Meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts, and grains? But we left on the shelves the unnecessary stuff. The chips, the sodas, the frozen food, the cereal boxes…what if we eliminated the crap.

In the meantime, I try to SAVE by:

  • buying from a coop –http://www.anniesbuyingclub.com/welcome.cfm
  • buying from Costco or BJ’s since buying in bulk is cheaper. (I buy here the stuff that won’t go to waste like the greens for my salad because we use it every single day. Organic chicken because it remains frozen. Organic frozen berries for the same reason.
  • my friend and I actually shared our Costco purchase this week. We split the walnuts, the kiwi, the yogurts for the kids. We split the cost and don’t have to worry about the kiwi going to waste. We are going to do that again!
  • For whole foods, I actually found an awesome way to save 10% on all my purchases. ¬†http://spendfored.org/index.php?id=50¬†(Check this website out and see how you can donate to charity and save money on your groceries. This is awesome!!!
  • And of course, the traditional coupon. Whole Foods is coming out with more coupons and sales and I take advantage every chance I get. For example, once in a while they sell their wild caught salmon for 7.99/lb which is even cheaper than Costco. I buy as many pounds as I can and I keep it in my freezer. I know I have salmon once a week for the next few weeks and I got a great deal.

We have decided that even if we have to sacrifice in other areas of our life, we will not sacrifice what we put in our bodies or our children’s. Food is fuel and we want to put the best fuel in us as we can so we can run a long healthy life! So the next time you think you can’t afford healthy food, just remember priorities.

What are your priorities????