Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making a lot of healthy food when time and money are both on a BUDGET!

Now, you want to cook a healthy meal for you and your family, but your time and money are both on a budget. Our grandparents knew how to stretch a meal, but as we got busier, worked longer hours, and convenience foods became more...convenient we forgot this information. Here are some tips, refreshers, and suggestions!

Adding Veggies
Ironically, most of us are wondering how to get more vegetables into our diets, and yet adding veggies to meals is a great way to get food to stretch. Nothing wastes money like throwing out food that's about to go bad, and usually because you don't know what to do with it. Chop the veggies up and add them to soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, homemade pizza, eggs for a nice veggie omelets, or on top of rice or pasta as a stir "fry" or pasta primavera.

Crockpot Cooking
Throwing a bunch of stuff into a crock pot is another great way to not only make a delicious, healthy meal, but also to throw it together in the morning and have dinner already ready for you at night! There are free crockpot recipes online, including low fat recipes, low sodium meals, diabetic recipes, vegetarian meals, and even crockpot cooking for 2 people (when you don't want a lot of left overs). It is also a healthy way to cook, and slow cooking keeps the vitamins and antioxidants happy and full of power! Also, if you think crock pots are for soups and stews only, think again. I make breads, sauces, desserts, meatloaf, and pot "pies." Try it!

Cheaper Meats
Another way to stretch food is to buy meats still on the bones. Now, while it DOES take time to get it off the bone, that just means that you should use this time wisely. I spent $4.99 on chicken breast on the bone with skins (4 large pieces). I took the skins off since that is where most of the saturated fats are (bad fats), and cut the meat off the bones into nice pieces. I then massaged them with yogurt butter (half the calories of regular butter, but just as tasty)...and who doesn't like a massage? Then I sprinkled on salt, pepper, and paprika, and baked them. While that was cooking I boiled up some water and tossed in the bones with the scrap meat on them. Unless you are a professional chef, you're not going to get that close to the bones so there is always a little meat still on it. When that was cooked, I removed them from the water and added some carrots that were getting soft, celery, a left over onion, garlic and seasoning for a few minutes. While it cooks you remove all the left over bits of chicken from the bones - it's more then you think. I got a little more than a cup. You add the chicken to the broth and throw in any left over little half bags of frozen veggies in your freezer. You can add rice or pasta (I used 1 cup of whole wheat elbows). Lastly, don't forget to remove the chicken from the oven and serve with rice and salad or cooked veggies! So for about 7 bucks I have dinner for my family, left over chicken for sandwiches, or on top of a salad or potato, AND enough soup for the next few days - oh, and I didn't waste my money by throwing out all the veggies in the fridge! Also, because I cooked two meals at once, I definitely saved time:) You can also freeze some and have a healthy pre-cooked meal to make on some crazy-busy day later on.

Last tip: add a can of beans! These lovely little legumes (fancy word for things in the bean family) add color, protein, are low in fat, high in nutrients, and fill up tummies for about $1. They are great in soups, salads, rice, pasta dishes, and can be added to ground beef to make it stretch in all kinds of dishes like tacos, lasagna, stuffed peppers, burgers, or casseroles. You can also use them for one of your meatless meals! Happy eating:)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Healthy eating for kids - of all ages!

So have you ever wondered if your kids are eating well? Have you convinced yourself that fast food is better then no food? Or have you gone the other way and gone all organic all the time? Where's the middle ground and is healthy eating for kids the same as it is for adults?

If your answers to these questions are yes, yes, maybe, yes and no...then you'll like what is to follow. I plan on regularly including posts that address the many questions parents and caregivers have about healthy eating for kids. To start today: Fat.

Children need varying amounts of fat from infancy through the teenage years. In fact, adults do to, but thanks to the nutritional trend of the low/non-fat everything market we often avoid fat altogether or get confused and eat all the wrong kinds of fats. So here's the breakdown: we NEED to eat fat. It is an important source of long-burning energy (unlike starches and sugars), helps your feel full longer, helps provide learning brains with the nutrition it needs to develop, it helps maintain stable hormone levels (and that's good for everybody!), and helps bring the vitamins A, D, E, and K into your body - that can't do it without fat!, and also some fats are called ESSENTIAL, meaning that you must eat them since the body can't make them. These fats are important to having a healthy heart, immune system, in helping your body heal itself, and preventing the development of cancers. How do you add more essential fatty acids? Flax seed pancakes are a big hit here, pine nuts in veggie pasta, avacados (good fats galore), pumpkin seeds, nuts and olive oil.

Ok, well what about the bad fats? Those are the fats that come from heavily processed foods and animal fats. No, you don't have to be a vegetarian, but Americans definitely can reduce their meat intake simply by adding 1 or 2 meatless meals to the family menu. Sure, you can add some tabouli stuffed peppers to the family meals, but if you have picky eaters - or skeptical partners, you might want to try something less "different." I take a well loved meat meal, and switch the meat ingredient for something else. Lasagna with ground beef can become veggie lasagna, use meat substitutes like ground crumbles (BOCA or YVES brands), or even mushroom slides for a meaty texture. Do the kids like mac and cheese and hot dogs, but you dislike the idea of all those animal "parts" and nitrites - try tofu pups, smart dogs from Lightlife (our family's favorite). We also like to add peas or edamame (soy beans) to up the protein/veggie points. My one year old, and picky-eater hubby like these options and they are so good that it doesn't occur to any one that the meat's even missing!

I like making smoothies for my Little One, giving her all the good fat and protein that comes in yogurt or milk. I personally drink Shakeology everyday as it has lots of Omega-3,6, and 9 fatty acids, good protein, vitamins, and is gluten free. It keeps down my cravings for sugars and carbs - so there are less times I have to tell my daughter she shouldn't want to eat what mommy's eating! Habits are easier to make then to break, so start them now - before the age of three if possible.

Last note: high heat destroys essential fatty acids, so cook low - no deep frying with oils, and add seeds and nuts raw on top of foods after cooking. Also, fish oils are high in essential fatty acids, and have less cholesterol, and can even prevent heart attacks. Bake fish sticks for little ones, and bread the outside with crushed crackers or rice crispies. Give them something to dip it in - My little one lives dipping fish in apple sauce, don't ask. She also loves soynut butter on sandwiches or waffles, and it's full of good fats. It's also a great alternative for tree nut-free homes or schools. Try some of these tips for yourselves or your families.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

P90X challenge!

So I've been talking about fighting weight gain after the holidays by prevent it before it happens by having a plan! Have a support system, and of course, Have FUN.

Yes, I said fun! I've been doing beachbody workouts for years now and I love them. I've done P90x, turbofire, Insanity (yes, it IS insane - but I lost 14 lbs, so whatever), and something called HipHopAbs:) If you've seen the ads on tv for P90X but weren't sure, I can tell you it's wonderful. It's fun, it's challenging, the host is too cheesy not to love and adore, and he NEVER makes you want to hate him:) If you’ve been wanting to start P90X now’s the time. Join the P90X Challenge which will be starting Dec 12th. As a beachbody coach I can help you with the workouts, give you support, and offer nutritional support and you can even win up to $500 per day. Seriously.

Save $75 and get real results -- get stronger and healthier!! The P90X BeachBody Challenge gives you a structured workout, healthiest meal of the day with Shakeology, and the opportunity to earn money.

Purchase by December 5th. Start working out by December 12th, and you'd be working out with me - virtually of course. Send me an email if you are interested or click on any of the banners on this page. Oh, and if you are starting to feel the panic of holiday shopping, consider buying a work out program for the one you love, a bag of shakeology, a membership, or just a gift certificate! Easy, healthy, and a wonderful holiday tradition of supporting the health and wellness of those you love. xoxox for more information or email me

Monday, November 21, 2011

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

      So I had a nice visit with my chiropractor today. If you've never tried it, and your insurance covers it - go. My lower back has been in spasms for 3 days now with sciatic pain down the front and back of my left leg. I finally went to the Chiro and she twisted me gently into a pretzel, and then POP! All better. No pain. Thank you nice lady.
     Now before all this magic happened I was sitting in the waiting room and there was a poster saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I had to reflect on it while I waited, and I began to think of what I could have done to better maintain my healthy back status. Well, better ergonomics is obvious - I need to lift Amaya with my legs, bend at the hips less, and sit at my computer WAY less. I also need to drink more water, stretch daily, and keep exercising.
      We all know what we should do, so what keeps us from doing it - better yet, what causes us to do what we do do? Well, thanksgiving is an easy example - habits, tradition, pressure from friends and family, and simply wanting to do what we want to do (namely eating until turkey comes out our ears, and then promptly doing nothing for the next few hours). Ok, but what about every other day of the year?
       In order to stop the cycle of fighting with ourselves, and everyone around us, we need to stop fighting at all. Getting a healthy, balanced self comes directly from having healthy, balanced thoughts. SO, make new traditions - do a turkey fun-run/walk every year! Develop new habits: When people ask to bring a dish, ask them to bring sides (less desserts means less temptations AND less pressure from the hosts to "please eat more! I can't keep it all!" Develop healthier pressures with friends and family: instead of showing your love by stuffing them full of high calorie, low nutrition goodies, show your love by stuffing them full of fresh, colorful, healthful, delicious dishes! Lastly, if you are super stubborn, have low self-control, or generally just dig your heels in when someone tries to tell you what to do - change your thoughts, and your body will follow. Instead of wanting to eat poorly and do nothing, WANT to eat well, want to feel good after you eat, want to improve your digestion, mood, and outlook by exercising during the holidays!
      Make a list. A mental list is ok, or go crazy and write it out - but make a list of the reasons you haven't done what you should do over the holidays or at get-togethers, and then re-frame the problem so that you can develop a positive thought process about that problem. Then, when that situation arises you will be prepared with your new healthful, balanced thoughts! Good luck!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pre-thanksgiving wellness?

       My name is Kasha and I'm a holistic nurse, and mamma of one super awesome one year old! I wanted to start this blog because of all the people I talk to about life, the universe, and everything- people who want to know more about how they can live healthy in this unhealthy world. I will be posting stories, advice (your following it is entirely up to you), and general thoughts about holistic living, finding balance, and about good solid nutritional information.
       So what makes me qualified to do this? I'm an APRN, I have a PhD, I'm certified in advanced holistic nursing, I've taught nutrition to college students, families, and patients for years, and I'm a beachbody coach. Does this make me qualified, I don't really know - but I do know that it shows that I have lots of experience talking to people about wellness, that I've probably made mistakes and learned from them, and that I have a true passion for the topic.
        My post for today is my thoughts on pre-thanksgiving wellness. So we all know that thanksgiving is just around the corner. Basically we all decide as a people to abandon our diet and exercise plans starting on Thanksgiving. Some of us wantonly abandon all hope of eating well and exercising until January first, and others of us just schizophrenically binge, starve/fast/exercise, binge, repeat.  As a healthcare professional, I can tell you that now is the time to make your action plan! When Auntie is pushing another helping of 'taters on to your plate and coating it with chocolate syrup and regret - that is NOT the time to decide what you want. Decide now how much you will eat, what you will eat, and how you will stick to your exercise routine. What will you say to family members that insist you must take a plate home of Thanksgiving-trauma? Focus on your triggers, your favorite holiday foods, and develop a plan of attack! For example, I love starchy yummy veggies and stuffing - all the sides. Well, offer to bring a side dish of your own so you can control the butter, cream, and salt content. Find healthy alternatives and bring that dish so you can at least have one dish you can feel comfortable with. Or plan to have only one ladle full and that you will fill up the rest of the plate with salad, unadulterated veggies, or lean meats. Eat a healthy snack before going to the party - yes, ruin your appetite! Drink plenty of water, and be sure to at least take a walk on the holiday. Lastly, get your exercise in early. You won't likely feel like it after dinner and merry making, so go early. If festivities are at your house, the morning is the perfect time to go and have some quiet time to de-stress before your crazy family and friends come over.
        In the end, be THANKFUL for the health you have, the air in and out, for the people around you, and that you have food to spare. Make less food this holiday and give more away! Take care of what you have and be grateful for your beautiful body and all the ways it helps you love, nurture, and care for the people in your life. I know I am:)