5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

 

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There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

green natural and bio sign

It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

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What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

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Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

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*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things to Avoid at “Health Food” Stores

Are "health food" stores selling healthy food?

I went to check out the new Fresh Market in town and I was quite disappointed. I came to the realization that these “health food” chains/stores glorify junk food and people buy it. Sure it’s a nice experience. The store is neat and clean. There is nice music playing. The displays are beautiful. The ceiling is vaulted. There are flower bouquets, and even flower bouquet holders in the shopping cart. It’s all about marketing. However…the produce was mostly conventionally grown produce, except almost double the cost. I went to the butcher and they had no grass-fed beef. Maybe they do carry it other days, but I was disappointed.

 

There were 2 HUGE candy displays like this:

"healthy" candy

“healthy” candy?

 

I could not find a salad dressing without canola oil or soy oil in it…and that is when I had my realization. I think people really do buy these organic labels or beautifully displayed foods at a “health store” and truly believe it is a more nourishing product.

The only local “Healthy” store that I enjoy is the Healthy Living Market here in Saratoga. I am not an affiliate to them.  Although they still offer a great deal of less than desirable and conventional products (they kind of have to cater to the vegetarians who eat all processed foods and believe they are healthy, the people who still believe canola oil is good for their heart, as well as the general public looking for healthier ingredients). However, they still offer a huge variety of fermented vegetables, kombucha on tap, roasted seaweed made with coconut oil and olive oil. They offer grass-fed and local pasture raised meats and eggs at a reasonable price. They have a huge selection of Applegate Farms products, including the breakfast sausage that my kiddos love. The pasture raised eggs they sell are also soy free. That is a rare find! They have the meat sticks that I love in several different flavors, as well as many kinds of grass-fed beef jerky without soy in it, and they carry my beloved wild planet sardines in a variety of flavors. They have a huge variety of local meats, and some exotic meats.  My kids call it the “paleo store.” I go there for all my special things that I know I couldn’t find a regular store. I am so happy this local gem opened up!

With that said…

I wanted to share with you my top 5 health store pet-peeve foods that you should avoid buying and consuming, and why. These products are also found in the “health food” or “natural products” aisles at conventional grocery stores. Stop buying them!

 

1. Soy Anything. 

soy beans

Soy is not a health food. I repeat. Soy.is.not.good.for.your.body.at.ALL. Sorry, but I get so frustrated at the variety of soy based products out there claiming to be a great meat alternatives. Or the amount of soy placed in items that claim to be meat-like items. Or soy oil in dressings and marinades.

Or the strange chips made out of soy like these:

 

soychips1

 

So why must you avoid soy?  I could write it all out but these awesome bloggers already did so:

Here is a well-written research based piece by The Healthy Home Economist

Here is another well-written piece by Grassfed Girl

and one more well-written piece by Food Renegade

In a nutshell:

1. Most of the soy the US is genetically modified, even some organic and “natural” brands.

2. Soy is a major hormone disruptor leading to hormonal imbalances and fertility issues. I nearly destroyed my thyroid consuming soy when I use to think it was a health food.

3. Soy contains anti-nutrients (known as phytates) which block mineral absorption. Soy proteins can be difficult to digest contributing to leaky gut, inflammation throughout the body, and autoimmune diseases.  Soybeans are very high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consuming large amounts can lead to fatty acid imbalances.

 

Read food labels. You will be surprised at the amount of organic food-products sold that contain soy!

real food labels

 

2. Canola Oil Products.

I find it nearly impossible to find a salad dressing (sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to make my own) that does not contain canola oil! It is also in packaged products that would have otherwise been a great product if good oils were used.

 

salad dressingcanola oil

People still want to believe that canola oil is good for the heart. Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil that causes inflammation in the body. Canola oil actually contributes to heart disease, as do vegetable oils.

Canola oil is a polyunsaturated oil:

  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
  • These oils are not stable.
  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

Here is a blog post I wrote about which oils to consume, which to avoid, and why.

Here is a video of canola oil being processed in a factory.

 

3.Glorified Candy

 

rock candy

Candy is sugar. Fancy organic candy is sugar. It will have the same response in the body as non-organic candy. It will stress the pancreas, liver, and adrenals just like regular candy. American’s consume an average of 170 pounds of sugar a year from processed foods, soda, and candy. Buying fancy organic candy is not going to take away from that.

 

4. Energy Bars

Protein bars

Most “energy” bars contain the same amount of sugar as candy bars, contain less than desirable oils, contain soy, wheat, and other less than desirable ingredients. It’s very easy to make your own energy bites with ingredients like coconut oil, shredded coconut, dates, ground soaked nuts, raw honey, flax seeds, etc. Then you know what is in it. Homemade energy bars can be great for athletes. However, steer clear of this aisle in stores that claim to be health-food stores.

 

5.  Agave Nectar

agave nectar

Same blood sugar response as high fructose corn syrup. Yet I’m still seeing it in the sweetener aisle, and in many products like this Organic dressing: It contains soy oil and agave nectar. Agave is still being touted as a healthy sweetener. Stick with molasses, raw honey, or maple syrup in small amounts.

 

french organic dressing

 

My take home message is that health claims are all about marketing. There is also a ton of bad health advice going around from biased sources with agendas. My only agenda is I want you to nourish your body with real food. Stick with real food. Eat foods that our early ancestors would have hunted and gathered. Real food has not been processed or altered. It doesn’t usually come in a box or jar. Sure we can’t all live like cave people. I get that. I love to bake. I love occasional treats like these Hail Merry tarts. Just read the ingredients and think about what you are putting into your body. Don’t believe the hype or the health claims. Some conventional grocery stores contain more real food then these health food stores.

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Pork, Cabbage, and Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

 

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For lunch today I made a pork tenderloin, cabbage, and broccoli slaw stir-fry!  This was extremely easy and flavorful. You could also use chicken or beef…even shrimp!

 

Ingredients/Directions:

Take a local pork tenderloin and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Sprinkle the meat with pink salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s 21 spice mix.

Fry the pork in a large wok or frying pan over med/high with a 2 TBS of coconut oil until meat is no longer pink.

Add to the pan 2 cups of Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw and a bag of shredded cabbage. You can also shred a small head of cabbage, and add shredded carrot or any other veggies you enjoy. This filled the pan to the top. Turn the heat down to medium.

Add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and put a couple TBS of ghee or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of everything.

*As it cooks down stirring becomes easier.

 

Let it cook over medium heat until the slaw and cabbage are cooked down and tender.

 

At the end add  1-2 TBS fish sauce, 2-3 TBS coconut aminos, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Fold in a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro (approx 1/4 cups) and juice from 1/2 a lime.

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

School Lunch Contest and Planetbox Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am so excited to announce this contest I am running with my dear friend Eric over at www.erichulse.com.

 

eric

 

 

Eric is a holistic health and lifestyle coach, Author, and teacher. Eric sees first hand the affect that eating processed foods has on today’s children.  We are both passionate about nurturing today’s children with real, nutrient dense, whole foods. Eating real food nourishes your child’s body so they can not only function throughout the day but also feel good. Eating real food helps to develop their eyesight, memory, concentration, focus, and gives them energy while they go about their day.  Many children muddle through the day and get by. They get use to feeling tired, sick, or even a little off. It is our job as adults to change this, and take care of their little bodies. We want our children to feel their best. They learn through what we teach. By feeding them real foods you are NOT….I repeat you are NOT depriving them. They will learn the difference in how they feel, and will learn to enjoy a variety of healthy, real foods. I guarantee they will surprise you!

 

It is challenging because culturally we are so far removed from real food, that we truly believe packaged food is real food. We blame all these sicknesses, diseases and ailments on “aging” and “getting old” It may be convenient and less expensive to buy this stuff, but it is hurting our children and setting them up for lifelong struggles that could easily be avoided. I was saddened by the “healthy snack” list at our school, which included go-gurts and graham crackers. This might come across as bold, but I am tired of playing nice and turning the blind cheek when it comes to this. Eating foods like these just makes children feel more hungry, because they are not getting the nutrient absorption their bodies need. The blood sugar spikes and plummets leaves them feeling drained. Not to mention the toll these foods have on their gut, setting them up for future autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, celiacs, asthma, diabetes, lupus and the list goes on and on. Just because something is marketed as “whole grain” or “healthy” doesn’t mean that it is. “whole grain” is a loaded term that means nothing. Grains are digested as sugar, and also block nutrient absorption. We have been brainwashed by the media, and it’s time we stop this nonsense and nourish our children with real food. It may cost more and take more time, but overall you are avoiding years of unnecessary struggling.

 

Now that I have that off my chest, I’m going to announce our awesome school lunch contest and giveaway! We are so excited to have our readers involved with this…we hope to start a real food school lunch revolution! We can do this. YOU can do this! This is our first giveaway and we are just thrilled about it!

 

 

Eric and I will be giving away a planetbox lunchbox!

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Planetbox is stainless steel, durable, and lasts for many years. You no longer need separate containers that get lost or thrown in the trash. It comes with separate “dip” containers that are great for paleo dips and sauces to dip the meat in. Planetbox makes it easy to pack real food. Often times my son Joshua gets leftovers from dinner the night before. HERE is a link to a month of Joshua’s school lunches in the planetbox!

Eric and I will be giving away one of these amazing lunchboxes!

Here is how to enter:

1. E-mail Either Eric or I a picture and description of one of your home packed school lunches between Wed and Fri (the 11th through 13th) of this week. The deadline for entries is Friday the 13th 9pm EST.

Eric’s e-mail: erichulse.wellness@gmail.com

Primal Bliss e-mail: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

2. Eric and I will narrow it down to our favorite 5 lunches. We will be looking for nutrient dense foods, variety, and of course fun!

3. We will then post our 5 favorite lunches on our blogs and let you vote on your favorite one in the comment section of our blogs throughout the weekend.

4. On Monday September 16th we will announce the winner that you chose, and send that individual their very own planetbox!

We also ask those that enter to “like” us on Facebook and Subscribe to our blogs!

Eric on Facebook: www.facebook.com/erichulsewellness

Primal Bliss on Facebook: www.facebook.com/primalblissnutrition

Good luck!!!

 

 

The Clean Eating Teen Discusses “Back to School”

First of all, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to Kathryn for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for her blog. You rock!!

My name is Natalie Wester! I am a high school student from Texas, and run a health blog, Clean Eating Teen.

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Everyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE health and fitness nut. I am known around family, friends, and school as the “hippie” chick. And they’re right! I have BIG plans to obtain a certification in holistic nutrition, as well as to become a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. I’m so passionate about this field, that I’m usually seen carrying nutrition books around school campus.

I help my family and peers in any way I can, trying to help people obtain a healthy and active lifestyle. I make meal plans (with any donations I earn going towards yoga teaching tuition) and workout with those interested, and love to share anything I know about health and nutrition to those wanting to learn more.

It get’s chaotic sometimes, managing school work with a healthy diet and fitness regimen. But I don’t let my busy schedule become an excuse to neglect my body. That (along with grades, no doubt) is one thing I will NEVER let myself slack up on.

Before I started taking care of myself and nourishing myself properly, I was sluggish. I was not in shape, I did not eat well, and overall my performance was no where near as it is today. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my best and never fell behind… but since converting into a healthier, “clean diet” form of living, boy… are the differences HUGE! I feel better, have more energy… not to mention my skin cleared up, eyes whitened, and hair got shinier. I even lost some (healthy) weight!

Sometimes it gets difficult, but with proper preparation, it is more than possible to stay on track after it is time for the lazy summer time days to go away! This post is about how I keep up with my lifestyle during the school year… and how you, weather you are still in school or working, can too!

Exercise:   

 

My high school starts at 7:30 AM. I used to do my workouts after school, and that worked for a while. But eventually, I piled on after school activities, and before I knew it, I was lacking energy to work out after I got home from a long day.

My solution? Workout before school.

I am not saying that people can’t exercise towards the end of the day… actually, many prefer this! However, I have always been an early bird, and this was really the only time I found I had enough energy to get my body up and moving! Plus, it energizes me for the rest of my day.

I like having a pattern that I can rely on everyday, and I know for sure that my mornings will go un-interrupted for a workout. I could never say that about after school, because I never know when I need to stay for a project, tutorials, or another after school event.

            During school months, I wake up at 5AM. I workout for about an hour, until 6AM. Then I eat breakfast and am dressed and ready to leave by 7AM. I do this every day.

            In order to ensure efficiency, I prepare things the day before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning! I lay out my workout clothes. If I know I am doing yoga, I get my mat ready. If I am doing strength training or a DVD, I get out the equipment and have the DVD in the player. These simple tricks shave off precious minutes that you can use getting work done!

            This also includes knowing what you will be doing, routine wise, the day before. Are you going to be going on a run? Is it leg day, arm day? What DVD or routine are you doing? By knowing this, you take the guessing out of things and can mentally get yourself ready to tackle your workout.

            It is definitely a challenge to start this, but if you are passionate about staying active, you will make the adjustments needed. It only takes a few weeks before the habit sets in, trust me!

            Of course, because I wake so early, I usually go to bed by 9ish. I never have been able to stay up past 10PM easily anyway, so this wasn’t hard for me, especially after a LONG day of school, theatre, homework, ext…

            Now, I know that not everyone can get to bed this early. People have meetings, children, a spouse and family to tend to. I am just telling what works easiest for me, as an example to help you set your own goals with something of a path to fallow! J

           

            Here is a round up of tips for this category:

-Workout in the morning, or whenever time is easiest and most likely to be available and not interrupted.

 

-Go to bed earlier, regardless of when you workout, to ensure you have enough energy the next day.

 

-Lay out workout clothes and get needed workout equipment ready the night before.

 

-Have in mind what routine or workout you will be doing the day before you do it.

 

-Stick to your routine. Try to work out the same time each day to form habit, and stay committed! It get’s easier the more you do it. J

 

 

Food:

Everyone knows that school cafeteria food is… well, not food. It is actually a joke between my friends and I that everything the cafeteria serves is actually different shapes of ground horse hooves…

            Unless you are blessed to attend one of the few schools in the nation (or otherwise) which serves organic, homemade lunches… I HIGHLY recommend you make and bring your own. Actually, I don’t recommend it… I require it. I can’t tell you how many times my friends (who don’t even strive for a healthy diet to begin with) complain about the school’s slimy pizza or mock fish sticks.  If THEY have a hard time consuming it, I really don’t think it is wise for a health conscious student to put it anywhere near their lips!

            I also am astounded by how many people either A) Go without eating lunch (and not for monetary reasons) or B) Buy five cookies and a chocolate milk and call it a meal. This is also a big no no, and is another reason why bringing your own lunch is such a good idea. When you prepare your own food, you not only know what is in it, but you are guaranteed a meal that you like and that is nourishing. 

            This also goes for breakfast… some people do eat theirs at school, but most catch a bite to eat at the house before jumping on the bus or driving. Breakfast might even be trickier than lunch, because it is all too easy to forget about it until you pop out of bed late, and only remember it by the sound of your stomach growling while you frantically brush your teeth! Plus, most conventional breakfast items are no more than empty calorie sugar bombs: donuts, waffles, pop tarts and most cereals will not energize you for the long day ahead!

 

            I understand that making your own lunch may be time consuming, but this is where weekly food preparation comes in handy. If you don’t want to be making your lunch each night before, prepare a few containers of a basic, non spoiling lunch on a Sunday evening.

            Try making large batches of staples-it is a good idea to grill/bake/pan sear some ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chops, ext so that you can also have that on hand.

            I know many people, and many bloggers who post weekly about how they and their readers “food prep” for the week. A preparation can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Heck, even if you just chop up some vegetables to have at hand for the week… that is better than nothing! Here are two examples of what you could do on a free weeknight to get ready for the rest of the week:

Ex 1. Say you are having grilled chicken for dinner, with a side of steamed broccoli. Instead of one chicken breast, go ahead and grill as many as you can… 6 or 7. While you are chopping the broccoli to steam, chop extra to toss into a salad for one of your lunches. Portion everything in separate containers, and then toss your broccoli with some greens and a chicken breast for a salad lunch. Easy peasy!

Ex 2. You are having breakfast on Sunday morning, hard boiled eggs with homemade (healthy-grain-free) pancakes. Boil as many eggs as you can (a whole dozen would be nice, for lunches and breakfasts!), as well as double, or triple your pancake batter. Peel all the eggs, and store them properly for easy morning protein, or chop them up in a lunch salad later. Use all the pancake mix, and (just like you would buy at the store), put them in portioned baggies and freeze them. You can heat them up in the toaster in the mornings easy enough, and if you are running out the door, eat them sandwich style with some almond butter between!

            Of course, these are just examples in which you make some extra of the food you already were preparing. You can also just make your week food separately! Don’t limit yourself to basic things either, even though they ARE easiest. Try making protein bars, meat patties, soups, stews, chiles… anything you can think of and have the availability to do!

            While prepping food is a great idea, it is also handy to buy a few items that don’t require much hassle to simple throw in a brown bag. I find that many companies carry “to-go” sizes of their products… I have also seen small individual bags of baby carrots, and of course pre-chopped fruit cups.

            Some ideas of ready-made, healthy choices would be:

-Unsweetened fruit cups

-Unsweetened apple sauce

-Pre sliced vegetables or fresh fruit

-Sliced, high quality deli meat or cheese (not pre packaged, sliced right in front of you by the butcher!)

-Organic cheese sticks or rounds

-No sugar added dry fruit

-Fresh fruit with a natural “to-go” method, like apples, bananas, and oranges

-Healthy chips (baked chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips)

 

Here is a quick round up for this category:

 

-Do NOT fall victim to the school cafeteria food line! Your taste buds AND your body deserve better than whatever they are serving. The extra time you put into making your breakfasts or lunches is well worth it.

 

-Prepare your food before hand! Be simple and simply chop vegetables up or make extra of staples you already need, or make actual things (protein bars, meat patties, soups) for future meals.

 

-Pick up some to-go sized items of your favorite healthy products,  as well as other things you do not have to prepare before hand and can just throw into your lunch bag.

 

Just for reference, here are a few ideas for meals at breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast:

         Pre made hard boiled eggs with an apple and nut butter

         Pre made grain free pancakes or waffles with nut butter or honey and fresh fruit

 EASY, Paleo, Sugar Free Gluten Free and Flourless pancakes (two main ingredients… a banana and two eggs! Recipe is on my blog)

         Banana with nut butter or sunbutter

One of my lunches since starting school this year! Lettuce wraps with leftover turkey meat, and some baby carrots with homemade hummus!

Lunches:

-Salad with pre-chopped veggies, balsamic vinegar and pre grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg

-Lettuce wraps with large romaine leafs, left over meat, or veggies 

-Pre made soups or chile

-Half an avocado with a can of tuna or salmon and fresh tomato and cilantro on top

-Left-overs from last night’s dinner… the best! 😉

I KNOW it is easy to make excuses when school and work gets tough. Who has the time-or the energy, for that matter- to eat right and work out?

            The answer is simple… if you REALLY want something, you will do anything to make sure it happens. So in other words… do you want a wholesome, fit and active life? If your answer is yes… then you DO have the time!

How do you stay healthy during school?

What are some of your favorite go-to workouts or meals?

Natalie

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Grain-Free Blueberry Lemon Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream

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I LOVE blueberry pie! I love it with a hint of lemon and not overly sweet. I used the same crust recipe I created back in April for the strawberry rhubarb pie. I used berries that the kids and I picked last week and froze. The kids and I had half the pie eaten within an hour. It holds together best if you are patient and let it set. Otherwise you might be eating pie soup!

 

 

Here is what my kitchen looked like in the midst of pie making:

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*Note the small purple play doh rolling pin.I somehow miss-placed and lost my full sized rolling pin…so I had to improvise!

 

Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

 

 

Ingredients for the filling:

4 cups of frozen blueberries

3 TBS coconut oil

1/2-3/4 cup of raw honey (I used 3/4 as these were tart blueberries)

zest from one lemon finely diced (about 2 TBS)

3 TBS tapioca starch

1 TBS cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Set oven to 375 degrees

2. make crust-I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

crust #1crust#1_2

3. make dough into 2 separate balls

crust#1_3

4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

crust#1_5

5, Roll out the second ball of dough and cut it with cookie cutter to make shapes to go on top of the pie (I find this easier and more aesthetically pleasing than trying to do a full covered top)

 

6 Make the filling:

put the blueberries in a big pan with the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Turn heat to med/low and cook stirring frequently until blue juice begins to form at the bottom of the pan, and blueberries start to break down some.

 

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 7.  Turn off the heat and pour the blueberry mixture into a bowl. Remove about 1/4 cup of the juice and put it in a small bowl. Whisk the tapioca starch into that “blueberry juice”

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8. Pour the tapioca mixture in with the blueberry mixture and stir well. Pour this mixture into the pie crust, and cover with cut out shapes.

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9. Put the pie in the oven and bake for approx 45 minutes to one hour. *tent with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning of the outer crust.

10. Let the pie be!!! It needs to set. If you cut it too soon you will have blueberry pie soup! You can set it faster in the refrigerator.

 

Coconut Whipped Cream:

refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl. *you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pies!  Add 1 TBS raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla and whip with beaters on high until stiff.

whipped coconut cream

*I put my whipped coconut cream in the freezer for a bit so it would be sort of “ice creamy” to have on top of the pie.

Enjoy!!!

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