Simple ways to eat better

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by rachaelski, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    There are lots of food posts going on, which I love! I love to cook and to eat.

    As some of you may have read, I am on a mission to rid myself of processed foods and fake-food. I am also trying to eat more locally. We don't eat a lot of meat, unless we go out, I am making tacos, or we have a craving. I have been discovering simple ways to eat healthier and cheaper...and it's delicious!

    Let's share simple ways to eat better.


    Homemade peco/salsa. We use this for taco toppings and for dipping chips. It takes 15 minutes to make, and it's great to snack on and pull out for guests.

    Tomatoes
    Onion
    Jalapenos
    Limes

    (sometimes I add garlic or green pepper as well)

    Dice everything up and squeeze in the lime juice. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so....and yum! You can use a food dicer too, but I like the bigger chunks.

    Share some yummy stuff!
     
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  3. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    I love pico--I know I need to make some and keep it on hand, but I just never seem to get around to it.
     
  4. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    rachael, you and I are in the same boat. I've always been big into nutrition, but this past January, I really dove into it. I love eating clean and using locally grown produce.

    Here's a really cheap, healthy alternative to ice cream/frozen yogurt:

    Slice up a banana or two, freeze, process in food processor until it becomes thick and creamy. The consistency is just like ice cream/frozen yogurt if you freeze the bananas for long enough. Enjoy alone or top with nuts, fruit, etc.

    I love making my own pico de gallo, too. I made some two weeks ago and your post reminded me about it. I think I'll make some tonight. I have a bunch of cilanto and jalapenos I need to use before they go bad.

    Here are two great healthy eating blogs that I follow:
    Kath Eats Real Food
    Choosing Raw
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Thanks for the blog websites emmakate!
     
  6. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    thanks for the links! I am currently attacking my fresh pico and it is yummy!!!
     
  7. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I cook up a batch of mixed beans most weeks, then toss them into my salads. I also make my dressings from scratch. My current favorite is an agave-dijon vinaigrette made from agave nectar, dijon mustard, limes and grapeseed oil.

    I also love the cookbook Veganomicon. It has a great section on how to cook almost any veggie using a variety of methods. I have started to use my grill pan more. Before I had to cut out buying most produce due to extreme current budgetary crisis, I was making lots of sandwiches with balsamic marinated steamed tempeh and slices of zucchini grilled in my grill pan on homemade tomato basil focaccia.

    I love to cook and bake too. If I get motivated, I'm going to make some black bean and sweet potato enchiladas for dinner.
     
  8. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Even though we are definitely carnivores, my BF and I have committed to having a meat-free day once a week when we live together. It's fun to experiment with all the yummy alternatives to meat.
     
  9. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I have this awesome cookbook, called Simply In Season, it gives you recipes for fruits and veggies that are in season. The book is broken down into the 4 seasons. I love it! Making food that's good for the earth and your pocketbook!
     
  10. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Oooh, that sounds like a great book! Cooking seasonal foods makes so much sense. I'll have to look for it.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Eating healthy makes me feel so much better. I am adding more fresh veggies to the meals. Portion control has been a big help. For me, just learning about whole grains has been great. Each week I work on a nutrition concept. This week I am working on oils, and the benefits of them. I do think I need to add a vitamin pill to my diet.
     
  12. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Blue, have you read any of Michael Pollen's stuff? In his book In Defense of Food, he talks about vitamins and minerals and how it's better to acquire them naturally. He talks about adding this and that to milk and bread and how it hasn't done anything but make people fatter. He explains that things like butter and LARD, if it comes from a grass-fed, antibiotic-free animal is actually healthier than some of the stuff we use today! It's a great read, and it reads very quickly.
     
  13. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I find this stuff so interesting I have a gpa that's 99... ok can you imagine some of the stuff he has eaten in his lifetime growing up on a farm?!? I mean bacon grease by the stove & what not.

    At least I have good genes....
     
  14. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    That's exactly what Pollen says! Think of our older generations and what they ate and how it was prepared! And obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other ailments are problems of this generation. It's the processing of food! Fat-free, low-fat...chemicals, chemicals, and chemicals.

    And don't even get me started on the myth that humans need to consume cow's milk for health...plenty of other ways to get calcium.
     
  15. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Rachael, thank you very much for sharing the info. that you have learned through all of your readings in the area of nutrition. I'm going to have to pay my library late fee so that I could borrow some of the books that you have mentioned:D.
     
  16. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    I agree rachael. I know of the book, but have yet to read it. I'll check to see if my library has it and if it does, summer reading!
     
  17. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    :yeahthat:

    I always had to have a FREAKING DOCTOR'S NOTE up through middle school to be "allowed" to not consume cow's milk. Unbelievable.
     
  18. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Thanks, Rachael, I will pick up the book. Nutrition is so subjective. I have always thought my diet was adequate enough to not need additional vitamins, but I am not so sure now. And, I don't want to trust my health to the "experts." So, I am taking more control.
     
  19. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Eat to Live and The China Study are also good books on the subject.

    From what I can tell in supermarkets, most people don't buy all that much produce, and if they do, they don't buy much of a variety. I constantly have cashiers stumped and asking me what stuff is (jicama, spaghetti squash, and chard are the biggest offenders). And people in line behind me have sometimes asked me what I eat when all they see is a huge basket of veggies.
     
  20. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    LOL. We go to a produce store (all local) and it is ridiculously cheap. We sometimes spend 40 dollars in produce for just 2 of us! And it is a lot of produce! We go there weekly and Trader Joe's once every 3 weeks or so.

    Thanks for the book suggestions too. Another great book is Skinny Bitch. It is brilliant because it starts off as a "diet" book, and they it gets into the ills of food production in the US (i.e. the government in bed with the USDA, and the USDA provides milk for school lunches, but most minorities are some degree of lactose intolerant...majority of free lunches go to minorities).

    I just got into this myself, and it makes so much sense. Eat food that comes out of the ground or from trees. If you eat meat, eat meat that ate things that pop out of the ground.
     
  21. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I avoid sauces. I love ketchup and mayo. Just cutting those out of my diet meant 30 minutes less on the treadmill every night! Also, cutting out sugar in coffee or tea and pop can help.
     
  22. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I have cut condiments out of my diet too Canadian Gal. I don't even eat butter/margarine. I do have 1 can of diet soda at least 4 times/week. I cut everything else out of my diet (processed foods, prepared food, fried food, junk food - including gum, etc...) and that is my one last vice. I don't use sugar. I use Stevia.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I love locavorism! May I suggest checking out Slow Food USA for information on finding good, clean and fair food? There are chapters (know as convivia) in many major cities. My husband and I belong to the one in Columbus and have changed our eating habits for the better. Now I just need to figure out how to eat less of it...
     
  24. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I drink diet pop like its going out of style :eek: but I have cut out other condiments and its made a huge difference!
     
  25. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Thanks for the info! We are trying to become local and natural!
     
  26. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    WOO HOO!! There is a Slow Food Canada! Thanks for sharing catnfiddle:D.
     
  27. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I LOVE butter! I will never cut it from my diet. I also use sugar. We use unprocessed cane sugar. I worry about these sugar substitutes, they are essentially chemicals or modified substances.
     
  28. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Yay, Albuquerque has a Slow Food USA, I will have to read into it more!
     
  29. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Stevia comes from a plant that is made naturally grown (I think from it's leaves). It doesn't have any artificial flavors, artificial colors,yeast, wheat, gluten, soy or dairy. It has 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 gr. of proteins.... It has to be mixed in something to taste good though.
     
  30. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I'll spare you most of my rant on Skinny Bitch. I hate the whole philosophy; it seems very negative towards woman. I also doubt that sandbagging people with veganism is very effective. And they preach about whole foods in the book, but then produce a cookbook full of recipes telling people to use processed soy meats and cheeses. But the information they present in the front is good. The authors have a monthly column in VegNews magazine. I prefer John Robbins for that though. Diet for a New America is excellent. He is from the Baskin-Robbins family. Not on very good terms with them though!
     
  31. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Stevia is great. It is a natural plant, not a chemical substitute. It is actually the leading sugar sub in most of Asia and Europe, but slow to catch on here because there is huge political pressure to suppress it, so the FDA has all these dumb rules about how it can be packaged. I find it very difficult to bake with though and it is much sweeter than sugar.
     
  32. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I kind of blocked out the whole veganism thing. I considered it for a minute, and then I walked down the cheese section at Trader Joe's. I love me some tofu, but I also love me some steak.

    I really liked the style of presenting itself as a dieting book, but then it goes into the history of food-centered issues. I was intrigued by smoothly it transitioned.
     
  33. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Soy is completely out in my household because my husband has a horrible reaction to it. I'm amazed we can use soy sauce in our cooking. Maybe I'll buy some steaks from our butcher (they also own the farm and raise the cattle so it's REALLY easy to track the quality of the meat) and sweet talk the husband into grilling them tonight. Some fresh asparagus would also do the trick! It might even help with my anemia.
     
  34. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    All this advice has my head spinning. And it reminds me of why I did not become a vegan. It is pretty complicated. I do know that changing to whole wheat has helped. We are eating more fish--like 3-5 times a week. I, too, find the cashiers asking me what Swiss Chard is.
     
  35. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Does the soy in meat bother him? I have a friend who went veg because of this. She is really deathly allergic to soy though; also has celiac. When I make her g-f cupcakes, I am just about her favorite person ever.
     
  36. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Only if you make it complicated, like anything. :)
     
  37. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    I am a low carber and over the last year and a half not only lost 75 pounds, but learned how to really fuel *MY* body in a way that it functions the best. Lots of veggies, lots of meat, lots of whole foods. I don't eat anything that comes out of a box or that is premade for the most part. (Except for the occasional splurge, or meal out that wasn't prepared by me.)
    I am in the process of moving the children and my husband into the same kind of eating pattern.

    Personally I think the whole food pyramid is a joke. I know so many who follow this, and yet are so unhealthy. But as I said, we are all so different and yet one thing we agree on ~ LESS processed stuff.
     
  38. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm told one of the tricks is to shop around the outside of the grocery store and to avoid the center as much as possible when it comes to your food selections. This seems to work, although I fully admit to being a Special K fan so I'll hit the cereal aisle. Perhaps I should buy more eggs and have those for breakfast instead. This would be SO much easier if I liked to cook!
     
  39. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Mrs. Sheila, I'm moving in the same direction as you. Nothing pre-packaged or pre-made. I only buy frozen vegetables or fruits sometimes. I am finding it really hard b/c I hate cooking, but I am almost there.
     
  40. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I love frozen veggies! Sick habit: I like to buy sugar snap peas and then I eat them frozen. I will take a hand full from the freezer and munch....mmmmmm :thumb:
     
  41. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    If you read the package, USUALLY frozen veg is just the veg and maybe some water. No harm there in general. Just don't nuke it in the bag!
     

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