Food · Health · Products · Texas Life

Serving Size

I want to talk about serving size and nutrition labels on food. Do you read the label before you eat the food? Do you look on the front for labels or “low this”, “no that” wording?

Serving Size is defined as a standard amount of food. So in reality all of us have a different serving size for different foods. BUT when we are shopping these packages are providing nutrition information for a specific serving size for that food. Don’t just skip to the numbers or percentages because you are missing the most important part of the label.

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One of the big tricks you will see is that the front of the package will say 50% less fat, or 50% less sodium and so on. Well guess what they did, they simply changed the serving size. They cut it in half and bam 50% less whatever it says! Don’t fall for this. Look at the serving size and think to yourself when I eat this am I going to eat a cup, 10 pieces or more? This will help you understand really how much sugar, protein, sodium, calcium etc you are getting in that food.

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(Not saying this product did that just an example of the attraction on the front)

Next I always go from serving size to ingredients list. Are the ingredients real food or chemicals, dyes or things I just don’t know what they are. This lets me decide if I want to purchase it or not. I am not perfect in anyway and I purchase processed foods but I try to limit them and I choose the option that works best for me based on the ingredients. You will also learn a lot about companies and which brands you feel more comfortable putting in your body.

Image result for ingredients list food label

Image result for ingredients list food label

After looking through the ingredients list I then go back up to the top and focus on sugar and sodium first, then the other nutrients from the item. I want foods that are low in synthetic sugar and safe amounts of sodium. I want foods high in vitamins and minerals.

Next time you are  in the grocery store read the labels before you buy and you make just make some different choices. Compare the front claims to the nutrition label and ingredients to see if that clever marketing is fooling you.

 

Food · Health · Products · Texas Life

Olly Nutrition

As you have seen on Instagram recently I have started taking Olly vitamins and now adding their protein powder and bars. I am loving the products and feel the benefits. I started with the vitamins. We were at Target getting who knows what and saw all the different vitamin options. We compared many different brands and decided to try Olly. After 30 days I could really see a difference in my energy levels. I did some research on the company and decided to try the protein powder, it is plant based and has been delightful. The bars are truly filling and the taste and texture are great. Texture can be really difficult with some of the protein bars or snack bars I have tried in the past.

 

Olly is B Corp Certified – “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.” I mean why wouldn’t you want to do business with a company like this! Not only are they B Corp Certified they are also a member of the Council For Responsible Nutrition.

I cannot tell you enough how impressed I was with this company and every product I have tried has not disappointed. I truly recommend them for anyone looking for a great vitamin or healthy product. They even have vitamins specialized for kids. Visit their website to learn more and see more products. Their products are also sold at Target!

https://www.olly.com/collections

 

Food · Health · Recipe · Texas Life

Foods

Here are some of the easy foods I have been enjoying

Smoothies! I like to add Cinnamon & Honey – you can read about the benefits of these and why I add them in previous posts. Also Flax Seed & Chis Seeds sometimes, I use frozen fruit instead of ice with my vanilla flavors.

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Eggs! I love scrambled eggs and adding spinach, black beans and salsa adds additional protein and deliciousness. It’s an easy lunch or breakfast because in just 5 minutes you have a full plate of nutrients to fuel you for hours. Any veggies are great such as mushrooms, peppers, avocado…you name it or have it throw it in.

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Salmon! This is one of my go to foods to order out because it’s a great healthy option. At home I cook it on a grill pan and add it to couscous or quinoa and steamed veggies.

What are some of your quick go to eats?

Food · Health · House · Organization · Products · Texas Life

Grocery Shopping

I took a poll on Instagram recently wondering how many people went to more than one grocery store for their shopping needs. I was surprised at the response but it appears that 60% do! The other 40% thought it was too much work.

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I recently have been going to two different stores because it has been saving a lot of money on our shopping. I will most likely be upping it to three because getting all the cleaning supplies and such I have found another place to go for even less. It does take more time but all the stores are fairly close and the savings is significant enough to make it worth it to me. Some areas or small towns this may be more difficult.

The way I break down our shopping:

  1. Produce & Meat
  2. Snacks, Boxed items, non perishable items
  3. Cleaning Supplies/Personal Care Items

In the past I have used a lot of coupons but that didn’t really make a difference, I now only use coupons on the food items we buy. Trying new brands or products never worked out for us, but it may for you. Using the stores rewards cards and apps actually seem to save us more money. The apps give you coupons you may not otherwise find and special discounts in the specific store.

We tend to go grocery shopping twice a month and cook a lot at home. Especially with me working from home now our shopping needs have slightly changed so going once a month just isn’t enough with perishable foods and produce.

Do you go to more than one store? What are your grocery shopping tips?

Food · Health · Products · Recipe · Texas Life

Benefits of Cinnamon

I love the taste of cinnamon and lately I have been adding it to my toast, coffee and smoothies. Why? The benefits are wonderful!

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  • Loaded with Antioxidants
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Studies show that people who added 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon per day to their diet had lower risk for heart disease
  • Lowers bad LDL and increases good HDL
  • Can Improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin – insulin is part of regulating your metabolism and energy use, Cinnamon can reduce the insulin resistance many people have
  • Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
  • Studies link Cinnamon to inhibit the buildup of tau in the brain which is a trademark of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Studies link cinnamon to help protect neurons and improve motor function
  • Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections
  • Optimizes Oral Health
  • Skin Health
  • Natural Sweetener
  • Contains small amounts of protein, fiber, maganese, calcium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, zinc & copper

Make sure you are using Ceylon Cinnamon, this is “true” cinnamon there are other varieties that have coumarin in them which is not believed to be good for us.

Add this to your diet and share how you are doing it with us.

Fitness · Food · Health · Texas Life

Benefits of Honey

Liquid Gold, literally, I had forgotten how beneficial Honey in your diet was until reading EatingWell Magazine the other day. Since then I have been putting it into my smoothies and the natural sweetener is subtle and the benefits huge.

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Honey is:

  • Fat Free
  • Cholesterol Free
  • Sodium Free

Benefits Include:

  • Allergy Relief – anti-inflammatory effects can reduce seasonal allergy symptoms
  • Loaded with antioxidants which prevent cellular damage. Some studies show it boosts postmenopausal women’s memory
    • Antioxidants can also help lower Blood Pressure, Improve Cholesterol, Lower Triglycerides
  • Helps the body Absorb Calcium
  • Cough Suppressant
  • Sleep Aid – can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin which the body can convert to melatonin – can help to regulate the sleep and wake cycles
  • Treats Dandruff – Honey diluted with 10% warm water and apply it to problem areas can relieve itch and reduce scalp scaling
  • Natural Antibiotic that can be used on wounds and burns to promote healing and reduce inflammation
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal properties
  • Natural Sweetener for cooking

Keep in mind having Honey one time is not going to change your life, you need to incorporate it into your diet on a daily basis. 1 Tablespoon a day has been shown to give people these benefits.

I get all natural local honey in my grocery store. Try adding it to your cooking and let me know what you think!

Food · Health · McKinney · Recipe · Texas Life

Hummus Recipe

I started out the year by making my own Hummus, I have been meaning to for months. I had the day off so I read several recipes and mixed them together to make some of my own Hummus. I always read several recipes and take what sounds good from each one to make what I want. Here is the recipe for the Hummus I made.

 

Ingredients:

1 can of Garbonzo beans – rinse the beans and keep the liquid from the can

1 whole lemon

Olive Oil

Ground Cumin

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Optional Ingredients:

Paprika

Red Pepper Flakes

  1. Put the Garbanzo beans, juice of lemon, 2 Table Spoons Olive Oil, 1 Table Spoon Ground Cumin, Garlic, Salt & Pepper to taste into your food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until you get the smooth texture you desire, add in the liquid from the Garbonzo Beans as needed to get your desired consistency.
  3. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3 weeks.

This is the base of the hummus you can enjoy as is or add anything for different flavors such as sun dried tomatoes.

Enjoy on sandwiches, veggies, as a dip, whatever you like!

Food · House · Texas Life

House Happenings/Thanksgiving

We are officially enjoying our new house in McKinney, TX. Just after settling in we were able to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in this house. Since we just moved and scheduling with other family was too difficult, we spent the day just the two of us. It was a gorgeous day so we went on a family walk around the neighborhood before I cooked a full traditional Thanksgiving meal for us. I am big on tradition so we have turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, corn pudding, green bean casserole and stuffing. (Minimum I should say, when more family is involved always more!)

Our new kitchen is so nice to cook in. Everything is newly remodeled so all of the little touches make is an ease to cook and clean. The kitchen has granite counter tops, under counter soft close drawers instead of cabinets with above cabinets all the way to the ceiling, eliminating the wasted space and added storage. Some of the cabinets are glass front adding a touch of brightness, double oven, cook top, stainless steel farm sink, large island and butcher block. I could go on but instead you will have to visit.

It was nice to have the day just the two of us. The rest of the weekend was spent completing some home projects, hanging things and trying some new restaurants.

Food · Health · Recipe

Mac & Cheese

I am sharing my healthier version of Mac & Cheese. Try it out and let me know what you think

Ingredients

  • 10oz Banza Pasta *made of chic peas and packed with protein*
  • 2 cups of milk & 1/2 cup of milk (any kind, even almond)
  • 1/4 flour
  • 3/4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Salk & Pepper to taste
  • Bread Crumbs (optional)

1.  Cook pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes

2. While your pasta is cooking bring your 2 cups of milk to a simmer **keep the milk moving so it doesn’t burn and clump up** In a separate bowl whisk the remaining milk and flower together. Add it to the simmering milk and stir until it thickens.

3. Add Salt, Pepper and cheese to the thickened milk and stir until the cheese melts.

4. Once your pasta is done drain the water and dump into a casserole pan, add in your cheese sauce and mix together. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and place in the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until browned.

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Enjoy!

This is easy and great for meal prepping. You can add in chicken, tuna, broccoli or anything else you like.

Fitness · Food · Health · Products · Recipe · Texas Life

Salt – So Many Kinds

Did you know there are 12 different kinds of salt? Sheesh which one should you use? What is best? What is the difference? Well recently I started looking into this more after trying Himalayan Pink Salt, it got me curious.

  1. Table Salt
  2. Kosher Salt
  3. Sea Salt
  4. Himalayan Pink Salt
  5. Celtic Sea Salt
  6. Fleur De Sel
  7. Kala Namak
  8. Flake Salt
  9. Red Hawaiian Salt
  10. Black Hawaiian Salt
  11. Smoked Salt
  12. Pickling Salt

I hadn’t heard of so many of these, they each have their own benefit and best use. Table Salt is the most common and what you see most of the time being used. It is easy to cook with and it’s fine grain allows it to dissolve quickly. Kosher Salt is flakier and with it’s larger size is great for sprinkling on top of meat to add flavor and texture. (It is not necessarily certified Kosher)

We use mostly sea salt in our house, it comes from evaporated sea water. It is normally unrefined and a larger grain. It can also contain other minerals from where it was harvested, depending on its surroundings. Each can have a different taste because of this.

Of the different types of salt, Himalayan Pink Salt is the purest form of salt in the world and is harvested by hand from Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Its color can range from off-white to deep pink. It contains the 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. It is used in spa treatments, as well as the kitchen.

Celtic Salt comes from the bottom of tidal ponds off the coast of France. It is more of a chunky texture, is moist and briney tasting. Fleur De Sel is the most expensive salt, this is due to the way it is harvested. It is a very delicate process and can only happen in weather appropriate conditions. It is hand-harvested from tidal pools off the coast of Brittany, France. Paper-thin crystals are delicately drawn from the water’s surface, a lot like cream is taken from milk. This can only be done on sunny, dry days with a slight breeze, and only with traditional wooden rakes. Someone please try it and tell me if it’s worth the cost!

Kala namak is Himalayan salt that’s been packed in a jar with charcoal, herbs, seeds and bark, then fired in a furnace for 24 hours. Flake salt is thin and papery with a bright, salty taste and very low mineral content. It dissolves quickly for great cooking. Black Hawaiian salt, comes from Hawaii (shocking right lol), the black color comes from the active charcoal, it is course and crunchy. They suggest it for finishing pork and fish.  Red Hawaiian Salt gets it color from the iron rich volcanic clay. It is good for cooking seafood.

Smoked Salt is smoked over a variety of woods to give it a different flavor and normally takes up to 2 weeks to smoke. It can add another level of flavor to veggies when cooking. Pickling Salt is used for pickling and brining, it does not contain any added iodine or anti-caking agents.

So with all of that I see why people use all types. After trying the Himalayan Pink Salt and not knowing all of it’s benefits I really liked it. I could tell a difference in the flavor and it was perfect when I was cooking my pasta. Try them all and let me know what you think.