Tag Archives: real food

Nutrition for a Gymnast

Ten Nutrients Every Gymnast Needs and How to Get Them

Recently a college gymnastics coach asked me if I knew one of the best in-practice (or in-meet) pick-me-up foods. I made a few naïve, idealistic stabs. “Nope,” he grinned. “Fruit Loops.” I didn’t know whether to cry at my innocence or to promptly squeeze his grin between my right thumb and forefinger, giving him a verbal lashing and the full weight of my academic condescension. I was so frustrated!

Faulty Nutrition Advice

I’m disappointed in the common gymnastics nutrition advice I encounter. It’s worthy of censorship. I don’t want anyone to touch my daughter’s nutrition without her running it by me first. Often the advice encourages exceptionally high carbohydrate counts and very low fat intakes. (How are they ever to absorb the vitamin D and vitamin K2 they need for their bones as grandmas?) Other times it advocates for highly processed cereals and granola bars loaded with sugars. (What nutritional punch does sugar pack?)

What’s a mom to do? Well, I like the gymnast in our family to focus on the nutrients her body needs to make strong bones, to keep muscle cramping to a minimum, and to protect her head in case of a bad fall. We focus on real, whole, and deeply nutritious foods. Focusing on these foods also encourages her immune system to fight off colds, helps keeps her tendons and ligaments well-supplied, and allows her hormonal system to have a chance to function properly.

Doesn’t She Need Carbohydrates?

As far as macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) go, I ask her to try figure out the best carbohydrate to protein to fat ratio for herself– using her hunger, energy, and mental clarity and focus to help guide her. (I firmly believe that each athlete is an individual with unique macronutrient needs. It is not “one-diet-fits-all.”) I explain that carbohydrate foods, although fast-acting, will not stick around very long, but that fats and proteins digest more slowly and can help her feel full longer. She includes carbohydrates for their quick pay-off of energy, and then she plays with the fat and protein amounts to determine the amounts (and kinds) which keep her feeling full– but still energetic and light and springy on her feet (or hands).

Reality Checks and Hard Talks

Food never goes away and our relationship with it really colors our whole life! So, periodically we talk about eating disorders, and I’ll ask her how she’s feeling about what we’re eating. We have talked in the past about the weight of muscle mass versus fat mass (muscle weighs more) and how weight is not a good indicator of health, fitness, or gymnastics capabilities. We talk about avoiding junk food but how to let loose and enjoy them comfortably when we want to.

Since competitive gymnasts often want to stay “little,” we talk about the changing body and the fact that a female gymnast’s skills will ebb and flow, progress and flop, as the physical body changes– and that will just require her to train smarter (to understand the physics of strength, power, vertical jump advantage, and quickness) and show off what a woman can do!

Competitive gymnastics has been suppressing the growth of competitive gymnasts for a long time, and I want none of that garbage for my precious one. I want her to embrace fully what it feels like to be an empowered woman, never afraid of food or eating–or actually of anything or anyone. I want bold, confident, and intelligent-minded women who will leave their sports behind one day but transfer everything they learned into a new path.

Back to Nutrition

Okay. Back to nutrition. I made a chart for our fridge that I thought I’d share on-line here. It’s the table you see above as the image for this post. You can, I hope, pull up the PDF file for clear printing here:

Blog Gymnastics table

Addendum: I have updated the same table you see as the image to read “Ten Nutrients Athletes Can’t Be Without… And How to Eat Them!” That way it can also be printed off for non-gymnast athletes too. For the PDF to this version, click here:

Ten Nutrients Athletes Can’t Be Without and How to Eat Them

I could have added iron, vitamin B12, and folate to this list. But if the foods on this list are eaten, those nutrients are each covered too. Meat has iron and vitamin B12. Beans and green vegetables have folate.

Many experts do recommend supplementing with calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids for gymnasts. Talk to your doctor about that. Since we don’t eat a lot of dairy in our house due to some intolerances, I do rotate through bone supplements for the kids. But please, I prefer that you talk with your doctor about that. I am here to share our story and my thoughts, but you should not use it blindly as medical advice. Instead, use it to further your own research and discussions with your doctor. I love comments and would be happy to hear what you do for your gymnasts, concerns you have about gymnastics nutrition, or constructive discussion on what I have written and composed here in this post. Thanks!

Please, help your gymnast find his or her way to strength, dignity, courage, and long-lasting belief in his or her amazing self-worth as a person, not just an athlete.

Warmest wishes,

Terri F

Thanksgiving Recipe Adaptation Tips and Links

sweetcashewcream-1Are you struggling with any Thanksgiving recipe adaptations? Have an awesome adaptation discovery you’d love to share? Please stop by today’s post!

My greatest adaptation tip is that most of the time, I can substitute olive oil for butter—-in baked goods, for topping steamed vegetables, and in casseroles. Obviously this won’t work for something like caramel! Another tip I’d like to share is to not give up on a beloved recipe; there’s almost always a way to adapt it. I have kept all my old recipes and over the last few years, I’ve been slowly adapting them as I learn new cooking and baking techniques and supplies.

Okay. Let’s look at how to adapt most of those Thanksgiving favorites.

Mashed Potatoes: I use tons of good quality olive oil, some full-fat coconut milk, and salt and pepper.

Tips: Don’t use too much coconut milk or they’ll taste like coconut. I use about a 50/50 oil to coconut milk ratio (heavier on the olive oil, more scant on the coconut milk), and my family is good with that. If you do get more coconut flavor than you’d like, it can be countered by adding some garlic, rosemary, and/or chives.

Gravy: Arrowroot flour/powder is my go-to thickener now. It works but it is finicky like a princess’s cat. I suggest that you do NOT add it to boiling substances or you’ll get a snot consistency. And when you add it, whisk like your life depended on it. Tapioca starch/flour is similar in nature, and I treat it the same. I have noticed that performance does depend on the brand! My higher quality flours perform better.

Procedure: I use about 1 tablespoon of arrowroot for each cup of liquid. First, I make an arrowroot slurry by mixing the arrowroot in the smallest amount of lukewarm temperature water as possible (maybe a tablespoon for a tablespoon), and I set that aside. Next, I bring my gravy broth to a boil, shut off the heat, move the pan over off the burner, THEN add the arrowroot slurry, whisking like crazy.

Green Bean Casserole: For this one, I make my own onion rings, dipping onions in a gluten-free flour and then frying them, and I make a homemade mushroom soup. It’s a lengthy process but my family loves it so much. Here is my recipe. I like it better than other ones I’ve seen out there because the onion rings are closest to the ones I remember from the can.

Cranberry Gelatin Salad: In place of Jello, I use plain gelatin and juice to make my own gelatin. I use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar. Everything else is just the same as the recipe has been handed down through the generations. Here is my recipe.

Corn Casserole: I haven’t adapted this one to reach the near 100% whole food mark yet, but I’ve adapted it for gluten-free, dairy-free. Everyone’s favorite family recipe is a little different, but you can find gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread mixes at the store. There are gluten-free, dairy-free brands of canned cream corn you can use. Use olive oil in place of butter. If your recipe calls for sour cream, you could try making some cashew cream as a substitute. (But plan ahead, you have to find raw cashews and soak them for several hours.) Have you perfected this adaptation?

Pecan Pie: Easily adaptable. I use olive oil in place of butter, maple syrup in place of corn syrup and brown sugar, and arrowroot in place of flour for thickening. Here is my recipe.

Pumpkin Pie: Another easily adaptable pie. I use maple syrup in place of sugar and any dairy-free milk for the milk.

Coconut cream, banana cream, and peanut butter cream pies: I’ve had success with adapting these using alternative milks (coconut cream is best for the consistency as it has the most fat) and arrowroot in place of flour.

Pie Crust: There are very pleasant gluten-free, dairy-free pie crusts available frozen in the store. My daughter makes her own crust using Bob’s Red Mill (I believe any gluten-free flour combination will work. We have tried just using arrowroot for this recipe. But it got stringy, so best to make it with a “combination” gluten-free mix.) I believe I also featured this recipe in my pecan pie post.

Granny’s Adapted Pinch Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour (tested with Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk of choice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Follow these directions very closely. It’s not hard, but the wording is confusing!

In a 1/2 cup measuring cup, put in 3 tablespoons of milk and then fill, IN THE SAME 1/2 cup measuring cup with the milk still in it, up to the 1/2 cup mark with olive oil.

Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk together to immerse. Add the flour and mix well. Use your hands to knead gently and briefly.

Push into the pie pan.  We do this by forming about 8 or so little balls and placing them around the pan. Then, we push them together, up the side of the pan, and a little bit over the lip of the pan Next, we use our fingers to flute the edge.

Use as directed in your recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole: We make the kind with the pecans and glaze on top. It is so good. Here is my recipe. However, there are some marshmallows you can buy now that don’t use any food coloring, if you need to do the marshmallow topping.

Whipped cream: I make a sweetened cashew cream. I haven’t posted the recipe yet on the blog, so I can’t link to it. But it’s very similar to the ones that are out there on the internet if you care to Google it. Or ask below, and I’ll type it in the comments for you.

Stuffing/dressing: I don’t have this one adapted yet. My family doesn’t miss it too much. But there are some great recipes out there. Do you have one?

Need to be egg-free? Following an auto-immune diet? Lastly, I highly recommend The Curious Coconut and her autoimmune recipes for more rigid food restrictions. I don’t know her at all. But I have purchased her holiday e-cookbook and it is amazing! I recommend trying some of the recipes ahead of time because they’re a little tricky and can give unexpected results! We have made a couple of the dinner rolls, and they looked so cute in her photos…

What questions do you have about adapting recipes? Are you stuck on one? Are you scared to try? Do you have an AWESOME one you’d love to share?

Choose food that doesn’t make you sick and doesn’t make you overeat. Best wishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri

 

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad With Maple Glazed Pecans

Adaptability.  It’s all about adaptability.  Take this sweet, crunchy and showy salad, perfect for any get-together, originally from my mother-in-law’s recipe book.  Awesome salad, but originally quite refined.   Substitute maple syrup for white sugar and olive oil for vegetable oil, and voila!  You’ve thrown refinement to the wind!  And retained good taste and stunning looks.  Lookin’ good, girl.  Lookin’ good.  Love the makeover.

The steps, when written out, look a little long, but I hate to leave anything to chance.  The salad is delicious, always goes over well at potlucks, and isn’t hard to make.

Don’t be afraid to adapt.  Don’t be afraid to adapt recipes.  Eat real.  Eat well.  Live well.

P.S.  Salad shown without the delicious poppy seed dressing.  Can’t remember why.

strawberry pecan salad 3

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

1 pound of fresh baby spinach or spinach chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup of celery, diced small

1 quart of fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered

For the glazed pecans:

½ cup maple syrup

1 ½ cup whole pecans

For the poppy seed dressing:

⅔ cup white apple cider vinegar

½ cup maple syrup (you may like a little more than I do)

3-4 green onions (with tops), chopped

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 cups olive oil

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

First, place the spinach, diced celery, and fresh-sliced strawberries in your prettiest glass serving bowl.  Set aside.  You can even do this the day before for convenience.

Second, glaze the pecans:

  1. Lay out a large sheet of waxed paper, about the size of a cookie sheet, and grease it well with a little coconut oil or olive oil.  Alternatively, you may use a silicone baking mat which will not need greased.
  2. Put the maple syrup and pecans in a large, heavy skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes.  Time will vary, but cook the pecans until the syrup caramelizes and gets sticky and bubbly.  Err on the side of overcooking (but do not burn).
  3. Remove the pecans with a slotted spoon to the greased waxed paper or silicone sheet.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Break up into pieces to sprinkle onto the salad.  Set aside.  You may also do this the day before and store separately.

Third, make the poppy seed dressing:

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. (Do not yet add the olive oil or poppy seeds.)  Blend until smooth.
  2. With the food processor still running, add the 2 cups of oil in a slow, steady stream until smooth and thick. The dressing will be a light green color.
  3. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  4. Chill.  (You may have extra dressing.  The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about ten days, although it will thicken due to the cold.  Allow it to come to room temperature for a thinner consistency.)

Finally, put the salad all together:

  1. Top the salad mix in the pretty bowl with the glazed pecans.
  2. Drizzle on the poppy seed dressing just before serving, using only as much dressing as you desire.
  3. Toss the salad to mix.  Serve.  (Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side, and any leftovers will keep better.)

Family “gustar” report:  The whole family votes thumbs up for this salad.

I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as we all do!  Please, give real food a try!

Terri

Money Talks: Part Three (And Final)

Let’s just go to McDonald’s (Maybe our cells won’t know the difference?)

“I know for a lot of people it’s all about the money. I was following some folks around SafeWay the other day as they Save money eating rightpicked up bacon, eggs, muffins, butter and then started adding it up. They tossed everything in the orange juice cooler and said, ‘Let’s just go to McDonalds!'”  (Tim Steele)

What’s wrong with McDonald’s?  Same thing that’s wrong with all processed foods.  Corn oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, autolyzed yeast extract, and dimethylpolysiloxane to start.  These are not the things that our cells use to function.  For every calcium they pull out to use, they’re having to figure out how to eliminate the dimethylpolysiloxane.  For every magnesium you ingest, they have to put out the fire (almost literally) from the corn oil and hydrogenated soybean oil being incorporated into your cells.  Years of this mistreatment, and the body finally succumbs to chronic diseases:  diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.  The body just is not getting enough of what it needs and the trash from what it doesn’t need is accumulating, causing disease.  Your doctor can’t change it.  Your husband can’t change it.  Only you can change it.

And if you have young children who can’t go to the grocery yet themselves, you can largely control the outcome of their health story.  Buying them good, whole, real foods.  Educating them.  Setting examples for them.  Staying the course, just for them.

Today is the last post on ways to try to make eating whole, real food a reasonable price.  Part I is here.  Part II is here.  And today is Part III.  Thanks for reading.

The Final Tips on How to Make Eating Right Affordable

If your family doesn’t eat leftovers well, then freeze them that night and label them to pull out later!  Then, next time you thaw and reheat them, serve them up attractively on plates so they don’t know they’re eating leftovers.

If you see veggies and fruits going spare in nature, ask!  We live in town, but people here still have apple trees and gardens.  It’s so sad to see tomatoes and apples rot in the October frost.  So if it’s getting to the end of the season, go ask if you can pick the apples, pears, and tomatoes going to waste!  Free is cheap.

Shop from a list to prevent any impulsive buys suggested by your own brain or kids.  My kids always ask for juice.  Is it on the list?  Is that what we came here for?  Uh.  No.  No juice.  It’s not really good for you anyhow.  Impulsive buys are usually expensive buys.  Make your list and stick to it to save money.

Shop around.  This is where time plays a role and makes budgeting a challenge.  But to trim costs, you really must shop around.

Fish.  No.  Not buy seafood.  That can be expensive.  But go fishing!  Go hunting!  Not your thing?  Bum food off of people who do!  Wild-caught food that you catch on your own saves money.

Eat only whole, real foods for health.  What?  I’m supposed to be telling you how to SAVE money!  How to make eating this way sustainable–not just repeat my by-line…BUT this one probably saves us the most money.  By eating this way, we dropped an average of probably 2.5 prescriptions per family member (We had terrible allergic rhinitis, all of us.).  Co-pays were running us about 10-20 dollars per prescription.  Let’s shoot low.  We were spending at least $125 per month on prescriptions.  At least.  I didn’t tally in over-the-counter stuff, antibiotics, and doctor’s visits.  Eating whole, real foods saves money by shedding prescriptions and doctor’s appointments.

Avert diabetes and high cholesterol.  For most of us, statistics clearly show we will be obese.  We will have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol—these diseases travel in packs.  (That’s a bare minimum of three prescriptions.)  These are foods of chronic poor food choices in most all cases.  Choose real, whole foods which, yes, take effort to prepare.  I am NOT hearing it loud enough for my tastes yet.  You do not have to have these diseases.  It will take what today’s society considers drastic food changes, but they are not drastic when measured against what we’ve been eating for thousands and thousands of years.  Eating whole, real foods prepared with your own hands can reverse and prevent these chronic diseases.  You tally up the cost.  (Tip:  Look around you.  It’s exorbitant.)

Your Success

That’s all I have time for today.  I want you to succeed.  Your success opens up opportunities for other people.  When you feel good, you can give to the world in the way only you can.  I sincerely believe that.  I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you have a great life.  McDonald’s and grain flours may be a bit cheaper and a lot less effort in the short run, but it’s ruining the function of your tissues and cells.

If you have any questions about how to get started on this journey which will require much more effort than money, ask away.  Your health depends on it.

And experienced passers-by and friends, leave your tips for others to learn from!  Thanks for prior tips and comments.  You’re the best!

 

~~Terri

Money Talks: Part Two

The garden

You can use money as an excuse to choose cheap, processed foods, but when you’re really ready to dive in I want you to know, it is simply an excuse.  Clear heads, energy, regular bowels, and pain-free joints–they do not come from a box.  I know I have lurkers who wonder if they can do this.  They wonder if they can commit.  Their spouse wants to know, “Can we do it on the same budget?”

You can.  You won’t break the bank.  Read on for more ways to make eating fresh, real food more economical.  Read yesterday’s post for more.  And tomorrow’s post for even more.  NO excuses.  Effort?  Yes.  Excuses?  That’s what they are:  excuses that enable bad eating.

Learn to cook

Let’s face it.  Four years ago, I was just a crummy cook who knew how to boil pasta and mix white flour, butter, and sugar.  Since then, I’ve learned how to use most all vegetables and spices.  My fear of fish and lamb are gone.  My fear of the grill is gone.  I’ve learned how to combine what’s left in my kitchen to something my family loves.  By learning to cook, you can buy sale items with confidence.  You can use cheaper cuts of meat and spices and transform a table to gourmet, although it costs less than steak and chicken breasts.  You’ll be able to eye a recipe quickly to decide if it’s a good fit for your family or not.  Find a friend and don’t be embarrassed to ask them to help you learn how to cook.  It will save you from ill-health and save you money.

Make homemade broth

Never spend money on packaged broth again!  Homemade broth just requires leftover scraps of meat, bones, and water (or leftover scraps of vegetables for you vegetarians).  Recycling at its finest!  You’re making something awesome out of food you’d normally just throw in the trash.  How’s that for saving money AND being quite the cook?  Make broth to add nutrition, flavor, and save money.

Count the cost of what you don’t buy:  soda pop, junk food, breakfast cereal, and meals out

Spend the next two months adding up the price of all the drinks, processed/packaged food, cereals, and meals you eat out.  Count it all up.  Every stinking penny of it.  Every quick run through the drive-through for a latte or Diet Coke.  What you tally up may surprise you!  Marketers want your money.  They’re probably getting it.  Especially if you use coupons.  Don’t see many coupons for kale.  Poor kale farmer.  Save money by not buying processed foods and meals out.

Start using the fat skimmed off of meat in place of oil:  bacon, lard, tallow

I used to drain all the fat and set it aside to trash when it cooled.  Now, I’m much more likely to save it in the pan to sauté some onions and broccoli in or store it in the fridge to use to sauté chicken in later.  The fats that we can save from cooking our meats, those are the fats that allow us to better absorb vitamin D and other “fat-soluble” vitamins that we need and are known to be deficient in.  I avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, Crisco, and margarine because they incorporate into our cells in “broken” forms which need fixed.  Using left-over drippings saves money, saves waste, and avoids use of rancid (spoiled) vegetable-derived oils.

Learn to can.  Do it with friends. 

It’s fun and creates good memories.  I have tons of memories of my mom, Aunt, and Grandma canning together.  Happy memories.  I have good memories of canning with good friends too.  Canning vegetables and fruits picked at peak nutrition saves money and creates lasting bonds with friends and families.

Buy lots of fruit in season. 

Then can it.  Cook it.  Freeze it.  Just get it when it’s cheap.  99 cents per pound.

Use co-ops and CSA baskets

Sometimes it takes a knowing a person to get you the information, but most communities now have co-ops and produce baskets where you get fresh-from-the-farm produce at a good price.  Amazingly, instead of complaining, most people I know love it when they get something they haven’t had before because they like to “figure it out.”  So if you’re willing to learn and experiment, these are great!  Ask around, getting fresh produce from a co-op or CSA basket saves significantly.

Drive to the farm

Straight from the source saves money.  And many like to chat.  I’ve learned so much from our 83 year-old farm woman about chickens, eggs, cows, and canning.  She is amazing.  Many farmers are talkers and love to share.  Buying food from the farm saves money.

Ask a friend to pledge to eat 90% whole, real foods with you

Having a comrade shares the joy, the pain, and the cost.  You can split bulk orders.  You can get together once a month and cook casseroles to freeze.  You can can together.  You can share good recipes.  Going in with a partner can save money.

Make soup so nothing goes to waste

Learning to use up everything in the kitchen saves money.  Soup is a great, economical way to stretch a budget.  Of course, you’ll need to learn to cook so you can figure out how to meld all those ingredients together.   But with the homemade broth, vegetables you froze from in season, and what’s going south in the fridge, you can make some very taste concoctions.  Soups are economical.

Skip those froo-froo drinks

Strangely, this one gets people!  Water just doesn’t do it for them.  Crazy how far we’ve come when water doesn’t sound good.  All purchased drinks seem to cost so much money, even bottled water (which is teeming with plastic run-off).  Save money and your health by sticking with water in a glass cup.

There are more

Oh, yes!  There are more tips tomorrow.  Have you been reading?  If so, which tip, in your mind may be the most important?  I’m almost bordering on the “Learn to cook” one.  Probably second is “Buy it in season.”  And probably the most important concept is gathering the drive and effort.  With drive and effort, nearly all barriers can be navigated.

 

~~Terri

 

Money Talks: Part One

 

2015-05-23 15.38.48 (1)I can’t eat that way.  It’s too expensive.

I’m going to tell you.  Anything that really hits you over the head and makes you think it’s important, I mean really important, you’ll get it done.  You’ll overcome your excuses and slap them down flat.  They’ll pop up and knock you down again, but you’ll stay at it till you find success.  You just will.  If it’s that important.

A lot of us say things are important.  We think things are important to us.   But our actions clearly indicate that they’re just not.  Barriers exist and we just can’t make the effort to overcome them.

People tell me all the time that money was not the barrier they thought it was going to be to eating whole, real food.  They skipped the soda pop and snack purchases.  They ate at home.

The barriers that really pulled them back into the abyss?  Socialization.  Time.  And self.

Today, let’s look at money.  The barrier that most people find they can tear down or walk around when it comes to eating real food.  Where will you save money, or at least break even, to make eating for a fully nourished body sustainable?

Garden

Two little boxes of plants and seeds will feed my family of six for five months.  With plenty to spare for friends.  Even if you can’t garden, two pots on the patio or front step can get you lettuce and tomatoes.  If you don’t have them planted yet, it’s not too late.  There’s time left!  In fact, you’ll get an even better deal since garden plants are going on sale right now.  Even the scraggliest plant in the greenhouse can make a comeback when plopped in a pot with soil and water.  Growing your own saves money.

Buy bulk nuts and dried fruit

I never had stuck my hand in one of those bulk bins at grocery stores until we switched our eating a few years ago.  Strangely, I was a bit intimidated by them.  Now, I’m shocked at myself!  I know I’m not the only one who wasn’t aware of the savings of these little nut cases.  When I made pre-school snacks for my pre-school daughter’s school, I’d ask parents to bring in sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, dates, and dried cranberries.  Nearly every time, a pre-packed item was sent in, like Sun-Maid raisins or Planter’s nuts.  Buying bulk nuts and fruits for snacks saves money.

Buy non-organic if it’s a deal breaker

Some organic things give me sticker shock, like organic grapes.  We don’t eat grapes very often, but if my kids needed grapes to stay on this path because it’s their favorite fruit, then I’d buy non-organic.  The goal is to eat whole foods.  There’s still more nutrients to help the body nourish and detoxify itself in those grapes than in those fruit snacks.  Organic or non-organic should not be the cost that sends Dad to a second job.  Buying non-organic saves money; do it if it’s a deal-breaker.

Ease into “perfect” slowly

Some people who do it, dang it, they’re going to knock it out, bang it up right!  They buy only organic, only grass-fed meat; only on-GMO produce; only non-BPA cans; only glass containers; only wild caught fish; and only free-range eggs.  You get the idea. They’re a nightmare and probably have nightmares.  You’ll figure out the best olive oil and where to get it eventually if you want to.  You’ll figure out the egg thing.  But the number one idea, bar none, is to get started eating real, whole food.  Day in.  Day out.  Meal in.  Meal out.  Let the experts figure out whether grass-fed butter is better for you.  Right now, you’re still wrapping your head around the idea that butter is even okay to eat.  Figure out exactly what whole, real food is first.  Then, you can iron out the details that are important to you later.

Buy meat on sale and freeze

When I see meat that we eat go on sale, I buy it and freeze it.  Sometimes I may have to divide it into suitable portions at home, but the savings are impossibly incredible.  A time to be thankful for living in the age of freezers.  Don’t pass up meat on sale just because your meals are already planned for the week.  You can save a fortune buying meat when it goes on sale and freezing it.

Deep freeze 

If I had to pick one thing that saves money for us, it would have to be our deep-freezer.  It is money up-front and costs a bit to run, but buying food at its peak season and then freezing it, well, I can’t even begin to tell you how much money that has saved us.  Summer fruit is a dime a dozen.  When fruit is free from the tree or 99 cents a pound, it freezes.  Going in on a whole cow or lamb really trims the budget.  So much freezes!  Avocados on sale freeze:  Scoop, mash and freeze.  Milk and butter freezes.  Bones for broth freeze.  Buying food at its peak nutrition, which is usually its cheapest price, and freezing it becomes is not only frugal, but nourishing!

Don’t be afraid to ask a health nut where they get such and such

Who cares if you think they’re crazy or over-the-top?  They’ll know usually where to get some of the best prices if they’ve been doing this long enough.  Muster up the effort to track down their phone number or pull them aside at church.  Don’t do this alone!  Drawing on the experience of those who have gone before you is down-right brilliant.  Sometimes they’ll tell you Wal-Mart and sometimes they’ll send you on-line.  Save yourself money by asking where the best place is to buy what you need.

Closing

Oh, there will be barriers.  There will be excuses.  But with persistence, there will be SUCCESS.  So tell the bread-earner and the budgeter in your house, tell them–It can be done!  Because if it’s that important to you, it can be.  I hope that someday, not too far off, that it will be THAT important to you.  Is there anything I can say to put you closer to that realization?  Any question I can answer?  Any doubts you have?

Tune in next time for more on how to save money and eat real, whole foods.

~~Terri

Fabulous Folate Smoothie

Green smoothie rich in folate

Putting Knowledge Into Action

So the last two posts have been about folate versus folic acid.  (First post and second post.)  Lots of science to explain why the folate from real foods is better than folic acid from enriched, processed foods and vitamins.  But let’s put it into action!  How can we get folate into ourselves and our families?  Smoothies.  Everybody likes a smoothie.  Right?

Smoothies are deceptive foods.  A banana.  A spoonful of nutbutter.  Some yogurt.  A little chocolate.  A splash of sweetener.  Taste.  Needs more banana.  Oops.  A little bit more of nutbutter.  Add some ice.  Taste.  Dang.  Overshot.  Needs a little more sweet.  Have the kids taste.  Needs more chocolate.  How about some vanilla?  Perfect.  Kids drink half theirs.  I drink all mine and all their leftovers.  So much for a “healthy” snack.  Guarantee I’ll have a carbohydrate crash nap after about an hour.  Zonk.

But a well-placed smoothie with a purpose.  Now that’s a shaker.  That’s what I like.  To reach dietary folate goals, I started drinking green smoothies during pregnancy.  My kids weren’t too hip on them.  The greens can really impart bitterness.  But I didn’t want to give up!  I get tired of chopping up vegetables for a folate rich salad the family will all eat or cleaning the skillet from sautéed greens.  I deserve a break–in the form of a blend!  Well,  finally, here is a recipe that I and my kids can all agree on.  (In fact, my daughter made the photo design for this post.)

Fabulous Folate Smoothie

1 cup of loosely packed spinach (Any greens will work but spinach has the best folate profile.)
1 well-ripened large mango which is about 1 generous cup (Mangoes are a fruit rich in folate.)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon maple syrup (Or use honey or Stevia to taste or whatever you use for sweet.)
10 ice cubes (I use two single handfuls.)
Enough liquid to blend, if needed (Choose one of the following:  your favorite tea, Kombucha which will add even more folate, orange juice which will add even more folate, or your favorite kind of “milk”.)

Place into blender and blend until smooth.  I put the greens in last so the mixture blends evenly.

This recipe made the above two glasses full you see in the photo.

 

Smoothie Folate Content and Recommendations From the National Institute of Health Fact Sheet

The folate content of this green smoothie is about 160 micrograms.  Recommended folate intakes are as follows in the table taken from the National Institute of Health Folate Fact Sheet.  DFE refers to dietary folate equivalents.

 

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Folate [2]
Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
Birth to 6 months* 65 mcg DFE* 65 mcg DFE*
7–12 months* 80 mcg DFE* 80 mcg DFE*
1–3 years 150 mcg DFE 150 mcg DFE
4–8 years 200 mcg DFE 200 mcg DFE
9–13 years 300 mcg DFE 300 mcg DFE
14–18 years 400 mcg DFE 400 mcg DFE 600 mcg DFE 500 mcg DFE
19+ years 400 mcg DFE 400 mcg DFE 600 mcg DFE 500 mcg DFE

* Adequate Intake (AI)

Smoothie Carb Count

The carb count for those interested is about 71.  If I’m the only one drinking this, I will often use only half a banana and Stevia instead of maple syrup.

Closing

Eat real folate!  It’s good for you!  Try to get your nutrients from food if you can.  Make every bite count!

Do you drink green smoothies?  Do your kids?  Does your spouse?  I’m converting mine over finally!  Two years.  Two years into this.  It’s not a fast-paced game to convert your family to this way of eating!  But it is worth it!

Have a great day!

~~Terri