Mar 11, 2010

Meal Planning for Better Health, Saving Money AND Weight Loss

A great habit to have is meal planning.  Meal planning doesn't have to be set in stone.  The point is to save money, not be rushing around to figure out what's for dinner, and always have a nice meal ready.  If you plan really well you may even loose some weight.


1.  Shop in your Pantry and Fridge FIRST.
Figure out what you already have to make a meal with.  Frozen meat, bags of rice, beans or noodles.  


2.  Look at your favorite store's adds and see whats on sale.  
If they have a sale on chicken legs, then plan a meal around that. Simple!


3.  Take a piece of paper and start planning.  
Plan the WHOLE meal, sides, sauces and all.  Spend a little time flipping through cookbooks or searching online for recipes to go with the ingredients you already have, then start looking for things you want to make.  Try finding recipes for your favorite take out food.  Making it at home means you can control ingredients, portions and avoid things like trans fats and MSG.  


4.  Make your shopping list complete
Go through each recipe and make sure you have enough of each ingredient.  This will keep you from buying too much of something that could spoil and keep you from going back to the store and buying "in the moment" items you don't really need.  Like that candy bar that keeps calling your name...  


Here is an example of what you should come up with.  It is not only a shopping list but a meal guide for the rest of the week. 


Meal 1
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli and Fresh Bread Sticks with Garlic Butter.  
Have:  noodles, broccoli, yeast, flour, butter
Need: cream, parmesan (4 oz), head of garlic, chicken 1/2 lb breasts 


Meal 2
Tuna Salad
Have:  tuna, dressing, 
Need: lettuce, green onions, wrappers


Meal 3 
HLC Ginger Citrus Meatballs with Brown Rice and Vegetables
Have: rice, lemon/lime juice, 
Need: ground turkey, garlic, broccoli, bell peppers, corn, tofu, cornstarch, soy sauce


Meal 4
Spicy Pursuits Pan Seared Tilapia with Hot Orange Ginger Sauce Brown Rice and Fresh Green Beans
Have: spices, vinegar, brown rice
Need: tilapia 1 lb, scallions, ginger, marmalade, orange juice, garlic, green beans


Meal 5
Soccer Night Pizza
Papa Francesco's $5 off coupon


Meal 6
Left overs


Meal 7 
Dinner at Mom's


You can write this down however you like. You may not need to write what you already have, that is just an example.  Notice I wrote down Garlic on each meal that it calls for, this will help me gauge how much I will need.  Then take the Need items and add them to your shopping list.  Make sure you always check to see if you have the basics like cooking oil, salt and flour.  
If this seems a bit overwhelming for you just start with a couple of days.  Don't try to tackle a whole week all at once.  
Plan meals that will specifically fit a certain day.  If you have to pick up the kids from a late soccer practice and have less time that evening allow a night for dinner out, or plan a meal from frozen ingredients that don't need to be thawed before cooking. 
To save even more money, take the sale items at your grocery store and make them fit more then one meal. For example, if lean ground beef is on sale, buy 2 lbs and make meatballs one night and hamburgers another.  You can also freeze half of it to use for a meal another week.  Try not to make it too complicated if you are not a fabulous cook or don't have a lot of time. Skip the potatoes au gratin until Easter. Just make baked potatoes with cheese for the work week.  Also, try not to take too much time planning.  There is such a thing as over-planing, it can be overkill if you calculate exactly how much salt you will use or an exact poundage of meat.  Keep it simple, flexible, healthy and remember to shop from your pantry first. 


Check out Martha Stewart .com This site has an excellent recipe finder.  You can search by ingredient.


-Val  

    


    


     

Mar 10, 2010

Vitamin B12: Big Energy For Those Little Cells.

You may have seen those SUPER MEGA ENERGY B12 Packets at the store.  If not you will probably notice them now.  B12 doesn't give you instant energy.  Things that give you instant or semi instant energy are drugs, carbohydrates, sugars and caffeine.  (Caffeine is a drug and sugar is a carbohydrate)  B12 gives you energy on a cellular level so to speak.  B12 is necessary in the formation of red blood cells and also neurological function. So until your body has absorbed it and sent it to work in your cells you will not notice any change in energy.  If you have a deficiency you will have low counts of abnormally large red blood cells, fatigue, nerve damage, numbness and tingling of the fingers, toes, cognitive changes, a sore tongue and loss of appetite.

Even if you have none of the above symptoms you can take a B12 supplement for extra energy.  B12 will increase serotonin in the brain which may also help with your mood.  So if you have problems with depression with no other clear reasons why, this may be a good option for you.

You can get mega doses of B12 in shots, or you can take capsules or sub-lingual tabs.  The capsules aren't really the best option because the B12 can be destroyed in the stomach acid.  Sub-lingual tabs go under the tongue and absorbed by the blood vessels in the mouth.  They are a much better option then capsules.  There are also sub-lingual drops.  The shots are mostly for people with severe deficiencies.  There are doctors that will give them to you just for energy, but some people experience nausea, headaches and joint pain after wards.
I think most people with low energy will have to change a lot more about their life style then just adding a supplement.  It is a whole picture.  I wish I could write a whole picture that would work for everyone but everyone is different and will have to find their own way. I hope HLC will help at least a few people in their search for better health.

-Val             

Mar 8, 2010

Pan Seared Five Spice Tilapia

"...This blend of Spice rub is a perfect match for tilapia, since tilapia is a mild-flavored fish. The spice rub makes the fish very flavorful and the spicy orange ginger sauce gives the fish a top notch flavor that you would usually get at a high class restaurant..." 

My mouth is watering!  Read more at Spicy Pursuits!

Mar 5, 2010

Snowy Day Hot Chocolate with a Special Message

I know it's a little late in the season for hot chocolate but we are getting a ton of snow here in Utah today.  Over one foot since I went to bed last night.  My husband has been busy working and finishing his last semester at school before he graduates and I wanted him to have a special treat before he left for work again today.  So while he and the kids were out playing in the snow I made him a cup of my special hot chocolate and added a special message to it.  Here's how you do it!

Make your favorite hot cocoa mix. Place a stencil over the filled mug.  Using a fine sifter, add dry cocoa mix, cocoa powder, dry milk or cinnamon to the sifter and gently tap the sifter to leave a fine sprinkling all over the mug.  Lift your stencil and viola!  A sweet message is left behind.

Valerie's Home Made Hot Cocoa Recipe
8 oz milk
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp cocoa (more cocoa makes a nice dark, rich cocoa)
pinch of salt
small splash of vanilla

Heat the milk on medium high in sauce pan or high in Microwave.  Stir in dry ingredients and vanilla.  Pour in mug and enjoy!

You can purchase the cocoa stencils here.


-Val

Mar 4, 2010

Meatballs in a Variety of Delicious Ways

This recipe is so versatile!  The base recipe for these Meatballs can be used in a number of ways, including spaghetti, or meat loaf.  Try not to be scared of the tofu if you've never had it.  It is cheap, healthy in moderation, full of protein and has hardly any taste what so ever.  It is a great substitute for the bread crumbs and makes the meatballs tender and moist.  I will reveal more great ways to dress up these meatballs later on, so sign up for emails and be alerted when a new recipe comes out!

 Meatball Dish Number One: Meatballs with Sweet Ginger Citrus Sauce Over Brown Rice with Vegetables.
Not only is this meatball recipe versatile but so is this sauce.  It is fantastic over chicken and pairs wonderfully with creamy ranch dressing.  It is quite the treat so eat it in moderation.

To make the meatballs
1 pound ground meat of your choice.  Turkey is low in fat, so lower calories and makes a great choice.
1 package silken or soft tofu.  You can find this in the produce refrigerator section of your grocery store.
2-3 tsp salt.  ( TIP: To test the salt content of raw meat before cooking, take a small piece only and cook it in the microwave or in a skillet.)

Mix all ingredients in a mixer or by hand until the tofu is thoroughly mixed in.  Take an ice-cream scoop with a release handle and use it to form your balls or do it by hand.

Cook 350 for about 45 minutes.  Meat balls should be firm, slightly browned on top and cooked through.

This is a base recipe.  This is how I keep my family coming back to the table.  I take base recipe's and change them up.  It's easy for me and no one gets bored.  For example, if I wanted to add these to spaghetti I would add basil, oregano, garlic, onion and pepper.  Same recipe, new flair, super simple.


Sweet Ginger Citrus Sauce:
1 1/4 C Water
1 TB Cornstarch
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Soy Sauce
2 TB Fresh Ginger (If you don't have fresh use dry)
1 tsp Fresh Garlic
2 TB Lime Juice
1 TB Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Red Pepper flakes for those who like it hot.

Throw it all in a sauce pan and mix it with a whisk, then bring it to a boil, turn it down and let it simmer until it turns glazey and thick.  Pour it over your meatballs and plop them over some brown rice with some steamed veggies on the side.  ENJOY!

-Val


        

Mar 2, 2010

Vitamin D3, Kicks the flu, and the blues.

Our bodies make all the vitamin D we need from the sun, if you live somewhere like Utah there is a good part of the year when you don't see the sun for weeks on end.  It's depressing for one, and it can also make us more prone to get the flu.  Even the swine Flu.  Dr Oz mentions this on his site,

"Vitamin D is produced in the body during exposure to sunlight. During the winter we tend to get less exposure so vitamin D supplements are recommended. People who take vitamin D supplements have better luck avoiding the seasonal flu; there is no reason to think that it won't do the same for H1N1 virus. Flu outbreaks tend to occur in places where solar radiation is low."

But, alas!  Spring is coming!  So get your self outside and take a walk, ride a bike, sit in the sun and make some vitamin D!

-Val
Now foods, Vitamin D-3 5,000 IU - 120 - Gels
Vitamin D-3 (1000IU) 180 sgels
Kirkland Vitamin D3 2000 IU - 600 Softgels

Mar 1, 2010

How and Why to Use a Neti Pot

If you are unfamiliar, a Neti Pot is for nasal irrigation.  Nasal meaning the sinuses and irrigation meaning running water.  A Neti Pot is used to cleanse the sinuses of irritants and excess mucus.  It can help relieve allergies and congestion and keep sensitive sinuses from developing infections.  They are a natural, safe and effective.  Saline solution is used in the Pot which is inserted in one sinus and drains from the other.  This is how you use a Neti Pot.

Have some tissues ready. Fill the Neti Pot with the recommended solution. I would highly recommend buying the mixes for the solution to make sure you always have the correct PH. If the PH is wrong it will burn, like when you get water from the pool in your nose.  Use luke warm, never hot water.
 
 Insert the tip into  your right sinus.  Just far enough that it seals around the opening so water does not run back out.

Tip your head to the left and lift the pot so it drains into the sinus.  This would be best done over a sink, or in the shower. Breathe through your mouth.

Allow about half of the pot contents to drain through your sinuses.  It should drain out of your left nostril.  If you are so congested that it does not come out you can try it then blow your nose, then try it again until the congestions clears.

After you have used half the water, blow both sides of your nose and repeat on the other side.  When finished you may find you will need to blow your nose again a few minutes later.

The warm saline water really helps to moisten and soothe sinuses, as well as help with congestion.

http://www.neilmed.com/usa/use_np.php Link to video and instructions.

Neti Pot Starter Kit with 1.5 Oz Aromatic Salt Original Neti Pot Salt
SinuCleanse Nasal Wash System, Unbreakable Neti Pot With Salt Packets
-Val
 



I started using a neti pot about 5 years ago. I was really transitioning over from modern health care to a more holistic approach. I had a REALLY bad sinus infection and was looking for something other than taking a strong antibiotic that would just cause problems of its own. I came upon the neti pot online and was completely grossed out! But it really made sense so I went to the nearest health store and bought one. Okay keep in mind I had a really bad sinus infection. I did the neti pot and let me tell you, it was gross and weird...and the stuff that came out! I thought blowing my nose was gross but using the neti pot made me realize what really gets left behind up in those sinuses that cause the real problem. I only did it the one time and by the next day...I was WELL. I felt so good and the infection was gone and did NOT come back. I have used it since every time I get an infection or feel one coming on and I have cured three or four since with OUT the use of antibiotics. In fact I have cleared everyone I have had since with my neti pot. It is weird and gross but it really works and is great for allergies too. I really recommend it.

-Liz-