So what’s up with all those meal delivery services?

food deliveryMeal delivery services are here!  Everywhere you look you can see advertisements for this service, but what exactly is it and is it worth it?  Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you have delicious healthy food ready to go when you need it.  But it takes time, energy and organizational skills that some people just don’t have.  Enter meal delivery services.  Let’s explore the two types of meal delivery services and I’ll give you my honest opinion, as I have tried many.

In the first type of meal delivery, you get a box of ingredients and a recipe card.  You have to actually cook the food, but it is portioned out for you.  For example, if the recipe calls for a half a sweet potato, you will get a half a sweet potato in your box.  Most of these companies focus on healthy choices and with many you can choose a meal plan to follow, like vegan, paleo, gluten free, etc.  Each meal runs between $10 and -$15 dollars.  While this might sound expensive, you actually save money by not going to the grocery store and piling your cart with unnecessary items.  I’m looking at you family size bag of chips!

I tried three of these services, Purple Carrot, Green Chef and Blue Apron.  Overall, they were all a great way to try new foods.  The recipes were easy to follow and prep time for each service was about 30 minutes.  The actual food was pretty good, but all three were spice heavy.  Many times I ended up leaving out an ingredient to tone down the spice level.

Let’s look at Purple Carrot.  Purple Carrot is a plant based meal delivery service.  You can choose from 2 programs, the regular plan or the TB12 plan (TB meaning Tom Brady).  The TB12 plan is higher in calories and protein than the regular plan and meant for those with an active lifestyle.  In both plans you get 3 meals a week, with each meal being 2 servings.  The TB12 actually gave me 3 meals per recipe, because I don’t eat that much.  The food was delicious and easy to prepare.  The recipe cards were well written and have the nutritional information on them.

Unfortunately, the nutritional information is not listed on the meals on the site, which I didn’t like.  I wanted to know the protein, carb and fat content of each meal prior to ordering, but could not get it.  They also use soy, which I don’t like and you have no option to not order that meal.  There are no meal choices each week.  You either get the regular plan’s 3 meals or the TB12’s 3 meals.  At this time you cannot choose a combination of regular and TB12.  So, if there is a meal you don’t like, you are stuck with it.  Delivery material is recyclable which lowers the carbon footprint.  It was easy to cancel this service.

So, as you know, we preach a plant based, whole food smart carb lifestyle.  This meal delivery company hits all the marks.  I would like to see a soy free option and more weekly choices.  Otherwise, this is a great choice for meal delivery.

https://www.purplecarrot.com/

Next up, Green Chef and Blue Apron reviews!

Your Health.  Your Journey.  Your Choice.  Choose You.

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Self Care is not Selfish

 

Self care is the new buzzword foSelf care is not selfish (3)r 2018.  But what exactly is self care?  And is it selfish?  In a word, no.  Self care is taking moments out of your busy day to focus on YOU.  It can be thoughtful contemplation while you nurse a cup of coffee in the morning.  It can be a kick ass workout at the gym.  It can be a solitary walk, just you and your thoughts.

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Take 6 long deep breaths.  Clear your mind.  Harness some positive energy and breathe.  By creating these moments throughout your day you can re-center yourself.  This makes you happier, calmer and more productive.  It changes the energy you give off and calms those around you.

Many busy women are so focused on their families and work that they don’t take time out for themselves.  And it shows.  They become stressed, anxious and irritable.  The hardest lesson to learn is that taking time out for yourself actually improves your relationship with your family and collegues.

I have many self care moments throughout my day.  My workouts are my time to set the tone for the day.  The endorphin kick I get from working out boosts my seratonin levels which makes me happy.  Then, I sit with my cup of coffee and breathe deeply.  I think about my day and what I need to accomplish and kind of map it out in my mind.  Before my shower I dry brush towards my heart to improve circulation.  Then, I hit the ground running and zip through the rest of my day.  I try to take a couple of minutes on my lunch break to breath deep and re-focus myself.  The end of the day is another few minutes of contemplation. Did I do what I needed to do in that day?

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I do disconnect myself from all devices about an hour before bed.  Studies have shown that the blue light from phones, computers and TVs disrupts REM sleep.  As I lay in bed, I do 6 slow, deep breaths.  This slows my heart rate and relaxes my body and I drift off to sleep.

Self care is taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually and even financially.  It is being invested in yourself, and recognizing that you are important.  So take time for yourself. Nurture yourself.  Love yourself.  Care for yourself.  Choose yourself.

Your Health.  Your Journey.  Your Choice.  Choose You.

So Where Do I Start?

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You’ve chosen which plan you want to follow, Wade In, Take the Plunge or Keto Clean.  You’ve started to eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet.  And you have come to realize that FAT is not the enemy.  So, what’s next????  Over the next few weeks we are really going to delve into the foods we should be eating and those we should avoid.  We’re going to talk about what to eat, when to eat and how to make a plant based, whole food, smart carb lifestyle easy and affordable for everyone.

The biggest barrier to starting a new lifestyle seems to be cost and convenience.  Many people think that eating healthy is too expensive.  I don’t agree.  I think that, if you shop smart and open yourself up to new foods, you can eat healthy on a budget.  One of my favorite things to do is go to the farmer’s market.  You get good prices on fruit, veggies and other locally sourced food, like honey.

I wander around, looking for sale items.  These are the items I purchase, and I build my meals around them.  I also try to purchase fruit and veggies that are currently in season.  You pay a lot less for apples in the fall, than you do in the winter or spring.  Experiment with fruits or veggies you’ve never eaten before.  Find new recipes to make with your family.

Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives, and cooking many times gets pushed to the back burner.  It’s easy to open a box or a bag of some pre-prepared meal and throw it in a pot.  The health value of that type of meal is pretty much zero.  Even if you are eating veggies, they have the nutrients sucked out of them.  I propose that you take one day of the week, I usually do this on Sundays, and prep for the week.  Even if you don’t cook all of the food for the week, you can plan your meals out and gather your ingredients.

I pretty much eat the same food for breakfast every day; for lunch, I have 3-4 go to meals; then, for dinner, I like to experiment.  I’ll find a really yummy sounding recipe on Facebook or Pinterest and I’ll make that.  I always make extra to eat the next day or to freeze.  I freeze meals in single serve containers and labels then for a quick, easy meal on the go.

A lot of people have told me that they want to change the way they eat, but they have to also feed their families.  I don’t really understand this thought process.  This lifestyle is one that everyone should be following.  These are foods that your kids and your spouses should be eating.  I’m telling you, if you start your kids early on eating good, whole food, they will continue eating that way into adulthood.  I truly can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t be eating this way.

Remember, it takes one week to make a change and three weeks to make that change a habit.  Commit today to making changes that will make you and your family healthier and happier.

  Your Health.  Your Journey.  Your Choice.  Choose You.

Fat Facts! Here’s the skinny on dietary fat.

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So, last we met, we spoke about sugar addiction.  Hopefully, you’ve spent the last couple of weeks decreasing your sugar intake.  But, now what?  We eat sugar because it makes food taste good.  Are we doomed to boring, bland tasting foods?  Not at all.  Enter fat.

Now I know your doctor has been telling you for years to reduce your fat intake, but what if he’s wrong?  What if you can actually increase your fat intake, make your food taste delicious, and STILL be healthy?  How can this be true?  Let me explain.

There are 3 types of fat, trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat.  We’re going to go with the stop light analogy here and say NO to trans fats, CAUTION with saturated fats and GO! with unsaturated fats.  It’s seriously that easy.

Trans-Fats

Let’s talk about trans fats.  Trans fats are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil.  This process enables the oil to become a solid.  It also increases the cooking set point, so it allows foods to be fried at a higher temperature and it can be reused over and over.  Trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, are also used in many processed foods because they’re cheap, easy to use, taste good and give the food a longer shelf life.  But…  Remember in the last blog we talked about the processing of processed foods?

What do trans fats do to your health?  Nothing good.  Trans fats increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL).  They cause inflammation in your body and significantly increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  In fact, in 2015, the FDA deemed trans fats as not “generally recognized as safe” in human food.  Wow!  Trans fats are so dangerous to your health, that by the year 2018, they are banned as a food source.

Do you see why trans fats are RED  on the stoplight?  Do not use these fats as your fat source.

Trans fats can be found in pizza, cookies, crackers, cake, doughnuts, fried chicken and other fried foods, french fries, biscuits, margarine, and most fast food.  This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will give you a general idea.

Saturated fats are fats that are typically solid at room temperature and are “natural” rather than man made.  They come from a variety of sources including beef, lamb, pork, the skin of poultry, cheese and many dairy products, butter and certain oils like palm oil and coconut oil.

Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap for a long time because scientists believed that it caused bad cholesterol (LDL) to go up and caused plaque build up in our arteries.  There are several good recent studies, including the PURE study which came out this year,  that indicate that while saturated fat likely will make your LDL go up, it does not cause a plaque buildup in your arteries.  These recent studies indicate that processed foods and sugar, which cause widespread inflammation in the body, are actually the root cause of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

In light of these recent studies, we give saturated fat a YELLOW on the stop light.  They are okay to eat in moderation.

This leads us to the holy grail of fat, unsaturated fat.  Unsaturated fat is considered “good fat” and is liquid at room temperature.  Unsaturated fat is further broken down into poly unsaturated fat and mono unsaturated fat.  Poly unsaturated fat is a good source of Omega 3sOmega 3s protect our bodies from inflammation and we must get them from the food we eat.  Wild caught salmon and flax seed are excellent sources of Omega 3s.

Unsaturated fat raises your good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers your bad cholesterol (LDL).  It is considered cardio protective and lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and plant oils, like olive oil and sunflower oil are examples of unsaturated fat.

Unsaturated fat gets a GREEN light on the stoplight.  From a health perspective, you don’t really need to limit these fats; however, if you are trying to lose weight, too much of any fat will inhibit your weight loss.

To recap.  Fat is actually not bad for you, as long as you are eating the appropriate fat.  Do not eat trans fat, just don’t.  You can eat saturated fat in moderation and may have unlimited unsaturated fat.  If you are trying to lose weight, I would limit fat to less than 75 grams a day.

So, in actuality, between sugar and trans fats, we have eliminated processed food as a food source.  A down and dirty way to understand if food is processed is: if it goes bad, it’s good for you; if it doesn’t go bad, it’s bad for you.

Next week I will introduce the Choose You food pyramid and how you can incorporate this lifestyle into your life.

Your Health.  Your Journey.  Your Choice.  Choose You.

Sugar Addiction – A Nation in Crisis

What do you mean I’m addicted to sugar?  No I’m not!  Or am I?  Let’s break down the sugar we consume and how our bodies respond to it.  Then you can decide if you are addicted or not.  Most Americans are; because much of the food we consume has hidden, added sugar.  Let’s begin.

Sugar makes up 10-25% of all calories consumed by the average American.  And sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks are the largest source of those calories.  The rest of the excess sugar we consume comes from cookies, cakes, pastries and other treats, ice cream, fruit drinks, candy and ready to eat cereals.  Cutting these foods and drinks out is the first step in the Choose You lifestyle.  Unfortunately, there are more, hidden sugars that we need to address.

We’ve talked about the processing of food in previous blogs.  The decline in health in America can be directly linked to the processing of food.  In that processing process (say THAT 3 times fast…lol), sugar was added to your food without you even knowing it.  Common added sweeteners include: corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids and malt syrup.  These added sugars change your brain chemistry, making you crave more of these types of foods.  Hence, the term addiction.

So, let’s look at what happens in your body when you consume excess sugar.  You have receptors on your tongue and in your gut that signal to your brain that something sweet and wonderful has happened!  Sugar stimulates the reward center in your brain, similar to the way drugs of abuse and nicotine do.  In fact, in a study with mice, they were given the opportunity to choose sugar or cocaine.  Guess what they choose the majority of the time?  Yup. Sugar.  That’s amazing and a little scary at the same time.

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In addition to its addictive properties, excess sugar changes the hippocampus of the brain, which controls emotional behavior and cognitive function.  It contributes to the accelerated aging of the brain cells, memory and cognitive deficiencies and brain atrophy.  And we already know that sugar increases your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

So the first step in the Choose You lifestyle focuses on the reduction or elimination of sugar in your diet.  Whether you start with Wade In, Take the Plunge or Keto Clean, you must assess your intake of sugar and begin to eliminate it.  For those doing Wade In, we would like you to reduce your sugar intake to 6-9 tsp/day, which is approximately 30-50 grams of sugar a day.  Take the Plunger’s will need to get below 6 tsp of sugar/day, which is below 30 grams per day.  And those doing Keto Clean?  Less than 20 grams of sugar, which is approximately 4 tsp sugar per day.

When you reduce your sugar intake, you may develop flu like symptoms.  This is your body detoxing from sugar, similar to when an addict detoxes from his or her drug of choice.  It shouldn’t last more than a week, and sometimes having salty foods helps with the symptoms.  This may be the hardest part of your journey, but you must power through!  The rewards of a body detoxed from sugar include more energy and less pain and inflammation.

So what do you think?  Are you addicted?

Your Health.  Your Journey.  Your Choice.  Choose You.