Vigilance

Over the years I’ve developed certain health habits that ensure I usually feel my best. It’s a challenge to stay disciplined, easy to falter.

Recently, I experienced the natural consequences of lightening up on my regimen.

It all began with a trip to Guatemala this summer. I accompanied an 83 year old teacher as she presented at schools and conventions throughout the country.

Many wonderful people hosted us in their homes. I resolved to be gracious and eat what was put before me, like my mother taught me.

I ended up eating more corn, dairy and sugar than I usually do. In fact, I came home with a full-blown sugar addiction.

How do I know ?

I found myself yearning for ice-cream cones, and indulging those cravings! I usually don’t eat ice-cream!

I couldn’t say no to chocolate. My friends know I love it and they love to accommodate me but all that sugar-laden milk chocolate hurt me.

I gained ten pounds.

My energy is down.

I’ve had two colds since I got home.

So I’m back to my vigilance. The last few days as I nurse my second cold in two months, I veered from sugar. Oh I thought about that box of home-made chocolates in my cupboard but I’ll save those for sharing with company.

While “I didn’t eat that much” sugar, I was woken up by how little it took for me to develop a taste for it.

Lots of people tell me they “don’t eat that much sugar” but when we talk about what they’re eating it’s far more than they think.

Some researchers claim we North Americans eat our weight or more in sugar each year! Knowing how pervasive it is in our food supply, I’m not surprised.

What I learned is a little sugar leads to a lot.

If I had to do it over, I would still be polite and eat the food I was served with gratitude. Maybe smaller portions. And employ vigilance and discipline when I get home.

How do you stay on course with your healthy lifestyle?

Shelley Goldbeck, DTM is a Thinker, Writer, Speaker,  and Serial Entrepreneur with a passion for eating healthy food. Shelley grows her own food and avoids processed food when she can. 

 

Meat – Less

Meat-lessEating less meat is a great way to improve your health and reduce your grocery bills.

But if you’re used to meat-centric meals it can be difficult to change.

My daughter, Rachel Olsen, recently released her book, Meat-Less.

Making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle can be very confusing and intimidating. In her new book, Rachel Joy Olsen, clearly defines what it means to eat a whole food, plant-based diet and some simple ways to convert your eating at your own pace.
If you are ready to reduce your meat consumption or just want to start adding some more healthy options into your diet to gain better health, more energy and manage your weight, this book is for you!

To get your copy, go to www.rjowellness.com/meat-less

Ice Cream for Breakfast on Christmas Morning

ice-cream-strawberry-scoops“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”

Who doesn’t love ice cream? It’s sweet. It’s creamy. It’s wholesome.

Unless it isn’t.

What is sold as ice cream today is not ice cream.

Here’s how you know:

Take a small scoop of the ice cream in your fridge. Put it in a bowl. Leave it on the counter overnight. Check it in the morning.

I suspect you’ll discover that it doesn’t melt. It doesn’t look any different from the way it did when you took it out of the freezer. This is your second clue that this is not real food.

The first, of course, is the label.

Years ago, Breyer’s was my favourite brand of ice cream. They boasted only six ingredients: milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt.

Then one day I bought my usual small package of Breyer’s. But it didn’t taste right. I checked the label. Behold! The company had been bought by some big factory food processor and the label was populated with a number of unpronounceable chemicals. My favourite ice cream was ruined. I wanted to scream!

I learned a couple lessons:

  1. always read the label, even if you think you know what it says.
  2. our food is being hi-jacked by corporate profits.

About five years ago, I gave up dairy and I began to search for alternatives for ice cream. I discovered coconut milk ice cream and now I make my own.

My daughters, granddaughters and I had ice cream for breakfast on Christmas morning. The recipe is simple. The taste is incredible. And you get to control the amount of sugar and avoid nasty chemicals.

I’ll never scream for ice cream again.

 

It’s a Salad

 

Garden Salad

R___’s Garden Salad, 2007

A few weeks ago my ten year old grandchild J_____ was munching on her school lunch when a boy looked at her, wrinkled his nose and pointed at the bean sprouts on her salad. “Ee-e-w! What’s that?”

J______ responded, apparently dripping with condescension, “It’s a salad. Don’t you eat salad?”

My heart burst with pride when I heard this interchange.

First, for my daughter, who offered her children, salads, fruits, and vegetables from the moment they started taking solid foods.

She gave them an incredible gift by teaching them to eat whole real food.

When my granddaughters (aka grandtoys) were mere toddlers, my daughter would take them with her to dinner with friends. She usually ordered the salmon and salad entrees offered in most restaurants and she shared it with her girls. Her friends would marvel that the grandtoys would eat that, and not clamour for chicken fingers and fries.

“Why is it so amazing that my kids eat real food?”

“Because most kids don’t.”

Sad, isn’t it?

In fact, it was my daughter who pointed out to me that the offerings on kids menus are pure garbage. Burgers and fries, cheese sandwiches and fries, chicken fingers and fries,   mac and cheese, and pizza populate the majority of kids’ menus. If this is what children eat they won’t develop a taste for salad and other real food.

Second, I am proud of my grandtoys, who are capable cooks. And they don’t make or eat K.D!

If tasked with preparing dinner, they start by making a salad. They love to toss in different ingredients, creating something new each time.

Their interest was further sparked when they had their own salad patches in Grandma’s garden. It was a momentous day when we picked the first salad. We’ve shared many happy moments in the garden picking tomatoes. They say children who grow food tend to eat more real food.

Third, I’m proud of J_____ for not being ashamed of her lunch. There is a great deal of peer pressure around food, in schools and even at the office!

She stood up and declared that it’s okay to eat salad. She’ll be a leader, one day. Watch out,  World!

I am confident that my grandtoys will avoid many of the ills and dis-eases common today, even in children. They have a leg up because they eat salad.

Do your children or grandchildren eat salad? Do you?

What to Do When Your Fake Food is, Well, Fake!

food_onionrings-520x348

 

Recently I found myself trapped in a secure area of the airport where the only eating options were fast food. My travelling companion isn’t as fussy as I am so he convinced me fast food was better than nothing. I’m not so sure.

Back when I still ate fast food, I enjoyed the odd onion ring so we ordered some to share along with our burgers, which at least had lettuce and tomato within the bunvelop (white and tasteless, just like an envelop)!

The first onion ring bite. Something’s not right.

Part of the delight is finding the often still-a-bit-crunchy onion inside. It’s an art to avoid pulling the entire onion strip from its crunchy cocoon.

But there was no onion. Oh well. Must be a dud. Onion ring number two.

Same unsatisfying experience.

We soon realized there were no onions in those rings. They were merely onion-flavoured paste formed into a ring shape, no doubt with a high tech gadget, then deep-fried.

I was indignant. If I’m splurging on fake food, it darn well better be Real!

In one snap decision I glided to the counter, expressed my dismay to the girl who shrugged and with the blessing of her supervisor, offered me fries instead.

I took them, feeling rather victorious: I didn’t need to get ugly to get my “refund”.

But I also walked away, feeling hollow. It was obvious they didn’t care that they were selling onion-free onion rings. With a straight face. And no apology when they were found out. It seems to be part of The Big Charade to part us with our money and our health.

It made me ponder: how sad is it that they can stay in business, knowingly selling over-priced “Food” that doesn’t have any nutrition? It’s sad because obviously, most of their customers don’t know the difference or don’t care. Or are simply trapped, like me.

I’m not sure of the solution. The best thing I can think of is to warn you to beware of the purveyors of fake food. They are firmly entrenched in our culture. You will appear to be an outcast if you go against the flow. But your body will thank you.

Simply eat the Food, The Whole Food and Nothing but the Food.

Do you have fake food stories to share with me and my readers?

Brown Rice   

Avoid White Rice

Avoid White Rice

My children only got brown rice, not white, from my kitchen when they were growing up. I know when they left home they “treated” themselves to some Minute Rice, but they’re back eating the good stuff.

Brown rice is the basis of white rice. Processors, called millers, remove the bran and the germ leaving only the white starch. In my opinion white rice has as much taste as the box it comes in and about as many nutrients.

Brown rice is a whole food and therefore has more nutrients than white rice. The bran has fibre and the germ gives flavour and vital fat-soluble vitamins. Milling rice strips it of its oils, vitamins and fibre, just like when other grains are processed. White rice is also polished, which essentially removes any remaining nutrients.

Brown rice has protein, carbohydrates and fat and is a good source of B vitamins, selenium and other trace minerals. Eating brown rice is proven to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and contributes to good cardiovascular health.

Choosing white rice over brown leads to a higher risk of diabetes.

When white rice first became popular, some rice-eating peoples experienced health problems including Beriberi, a cluster of symptoms caused primarily by a nutritional deficit in vitamin B1 (thiamine) manifesting in the central nervous, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular systems. It’s rare in first world countries because we have many sources of thiamine.

Millers addressed the problem by fortifying grains with synthetic vitamins. They help but simply don’t do the job of real vitamins. And fortifying doesn’t remedy the loss of fibre.

Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on the variety of rice. I cook large batches and freeze it in one or two cup containers. Then I can dump it into soups or thaw for using as a base for stir-fries, salads, stews and puddings.

Brown rice comes in short and long grains; the short are stickier and ideal for sashimi, cabbage rolls, and home-made vine leaf rolls.

Switching to eating only brown rice is a small step that you can take towards improving your health.

Learn more about how brown rice affects your health here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=128

See complete breakdown of Brown Rice’s nutrient profile. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=135

See my Coconut Cranberry Rice Pudding recipe

Oh My Goodness! Oranges!

175-ShelleyGoldbeckPost-Christmas until the end of March is the best season for oranges and grapefruit, unless you live where citrus grows; then it’s longer. (Mandarin oranges are in season until just before Christmas.)

I look forward to eating oranges in season. They are juicy and sweet but tangy. My favourites are Cara Cara oranges and Tangerines, which show up late in the season, (March). Of course fruit seasons vary slightly from year to year.

I believe in seasonal eating. When fruit is in season, it is usually ripe, sweet, and relatively inexpensive. I think human digestive systems do well with eating one food for a while (in season). Eat your fill and move onto the next season.

Local is nice but completely impractical when our frost-free growing season is only 90 days. There aren’t many fruit trees that can survive our winters. Citrus does best with zero frost-free days. Recall panicked Florida orange growers when frost threatens!

Why do you want to eat oranges? Citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C and the bioflavonoids that help C do its job. High in fibre, low in fat, they even have a small amount of protein. Oranges have folate, vital in fetus development and Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids) for various tasks to maintain bodily health.

The value of these nutrients in this delicious sphere, with its very own colour, far exceeds what you can get from a supplement or multi-vitamin. The synthetics don’t include the micronutrients and trace minerals that make the nutrition team inside the orange work so harmoniously.

What about orange juice? I recommend it only if you juice it yourself, (and consume it sparingly. It’s not whole without the fibre.) Many orange juice brands contain unlabelled substances like colours, flavours, preservatives and agricultural chemical residues. They’re also pasteurized, effectively killing most nutrients. Some brands sneak in sugar, or worse, aspartame. The juice, without pulp is little more than sugar water, spiking your blood sugar levels.

It’s best to eat the whole fruit. I do juice oranges that are past their prime eating stage. I use the juice to flavour salad dressings and desserts or we pour a bit into our smoothies. It’s easy to overdo orange juice. Beware!

Eating Ideas: add oranges to salads for some pizzazz. Pair oranges with cranberry in recipes for an interesting taste combination. My grandma taught me to add orange juice and zest to a white cake recipe for an elegant but simple dessert.

Oranges. Get them while they’re good.

Remember to Eat the Food, The Whole Food and Nothing but the Food.

My Orange Chiffon Cake recipe

For a complete report on the nutrition of oranges see: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=31

Shelley Goldbeck, DTM has studied food for over 35 years, after an epiphany at the grocery store led her to put back the doughnuts and cookies and buy the peaches instead! Her food choices have evolved and she enjoys sharing the results of her research with others. Shelley is a Thinker, Writer, and Speaker based in Calgary, AB. 

What to do with Halloween Candy

Lego PumpkinsHappy Halloween! The little munchkins will be vibrating in anticipation all day and then vibrating all weekend from the sugar rush.

In our family we are fully aware of the evils of sugar. We used to think it was harmless, that a binge on baby chocolate bars once a year wasn’t so bad.

Only it was never one night. We’d buy crates of individually wrapped candy in late September. By mid-October, we were out, except for the one kind in the variety pack that we don’t like. (You can never buy a variety pack with all the types you like; there’s always a dud!)

We’d buy three more crates, give out one, and have the other two consumed within days of Halloween.

When my children were small there were always battles over the candy. One year I rationed it. That was received like snow in June. So then I decided to let them gorge themselves on Halloween and then ration the rest. That was mildly successful: the gorging part was popular; rationing spawned battles.

My Grandtoys are gluten and dairy-free so Halloween has changed. Where most kids love to get chocolate, my little ones can’t eat it, unless it’s dark chocolate. Twizzlers are made with wheat, so they can’t have them. Half of what they collect needs to be given away.

Then there’s that sugar problem. I once had some Skittles left over from Halloween. I would give the Grandtoys each a package after dinner. The youngest would almost immediately start spinning, acting up, poking her sister. Whether it was the sugar or the food colour, I’m not sure, but the rest of those went in the garbage.

“No Halloween” is not a viable option but there are things one can do.

  1. Walk the talk: I don’t eat sugar so I feel off when I give it to others, especially children. So what to give? This year we have one box of baby chocolate bars, some bags of cashews and for the discriminating palates of my Grandtoys, packs of seaweed. Yes seaweed! They love it! Some years we’ve given fruit leather, still sugar, but with fibre and some nutrients.
  2. Halloween parties: This year, my Grandtoys’ cul de sac is throwing a Halloween party. The focus will be on fun, not on collecting too much candy. There will be some, of course, but my daughter’s battle over candy will be minimized.
  3. Buy your children’s candy. This is a fabulous idea I heard about a couple years ago. A mother gave her child $50 to surrender the majority of the candy. I think she let her keep a few pieces. The child gets to have fun collecting candy but doesn’t suffer the negative effects of all that sugar.

I long for the days when an apple was an appropriate contribution to the pillowcase. I wonder if it was candy manufacturers that put razor blades in apples and started the fear mindset. It soon became common knowledge that it wasn’t safe to eat Halloween apples.But poison in the form of sugar with artificial colours and flavours is okay. Aargh!

Have a safe fun Halloween. Do what you can to avoid overdosing on sugar. Your body will thank you.

To learn more about sugar, read past blogs My Sugar Story.

Eeks! Ebola!

ebolaEveryday, Ebola news dominates.

It’s interesting to watch the circus and alarming to see and hear some of the reactions.

Here are my observations and questions:

  • Why has Ebola spread so quickly? It seems as though the “authorities” have been syrupy slow to react. And you know what stirs me up? Airports continue to accept travelers from Africa, even Liberia, where the largest outbreak appears to be. They get in but my granddaughters’ juice boxes were confiscated at Security. Too dangerous. Didn’t you know six year olds make bombs out of juice boxes all the time? (They once took my lunch: hummous because it was too liquid. They left me my pita but naked, it wasn’t palatable!) The lax handling of this by the US Government et al is more evidence that airport security measures are largely to give the impression they’re addressing security concerns when in fact, it’s all a charade.
  • Consider this report: The US Government owns the patent on Ebola. Why? Aren’t patents granted to creators? Why is the US Government creating deadly viruses? Just asking. If this is true was Ebola released on purpose? If not, who’s guarding the lab? Is it the same contractor that’s screening passengers at airports?
  • Just as the Ebola epidemic was becoming a common headline the pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline announced that they had a vaccine, miraculously ready to test on human guinea pigs. What a wonderful coincidence! They will reduce ten years of studies into 12 months! Makes one wonder if the patent owner is colluding with GSK.
  • Who is lining up to get the Ebola vaccine? Think about the clinical trials. Group A gets untested vaccine. Group B gets the placebo. Do they purposely expose both groups to Ebola and see who gets it? Seems rather dangerous. Both scare me: an injection of virus that could cause Ebola (not to mention the vaccine adjuvants which are known poisons) or the placebo, which means there’s no protection. Where do I sign up?
  • Why a vaccine not a cure? If the US Government created it, surely they’ve been working on ways to prevent and cure it. Shouldn’t all possibilities be considered? I’ve seen reports that massive doses of vitamin C or colloidal silver can help bolster the immune system’s troops but these options are not being considered. When properly armed, our immune systems are marvelously designed to resist a host of hostile organisms. But most people are woefully malnourished and their immune defenses are weak. Africans are notoriously undernourished, or so we’re led to believe by news reports and Save the Children ads.

If you’re concerned about Ebola, I suggest minimizing trips to Africa for now.

Avoid the vaccine; it needs testing. Don’t be a guinea pig.

Nourish yourself by eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods and whole food supplements. For example, studies show that Vitamin D bolsters the immune system, so get some sun or eat some fish.

Most of all, don’t dwell on this issue. Have you ever noticed that when you focus on disaster that seems to be what shows up? Race car drivers are trained not to look at the wall because if they look there, they drive there.

Eyes on the road.

Charismatic Carrots

Just some of my 2014 carrots

Just some of my 2014 carrots

Our skin will be turning orange soon: we have consumed so many fresh garden carrots in the last two weeks.

Carrot harvesting season is comforting for me. While digging, topping, washing, trimming, drying, and bagging carrots consume many hours, there’s comfort in knowing we’ll have garden carrots at least until Christmas.

It has also been fun sharing our bounty with those of our friends who really appreciate carrots from the garden.

Carrots are relatively easy to grow in our short growing season, especially since they can tolerate freezing temperatures well into fall. Their requirements include, fertile soil without lumps, regular rainwater, and weeding once or twice before the carrots take hold. After that, one can pretty much forget them unless it’s to do some thinning. I tend to not bother. I simply begin harvesting the bigger ones early in the season, which leaves room for the remaining roots to grow.

A carrot from the garden is a different animal from anything one can buy in the grocery stores or even the farmer’s markets. They have a subtle sweetness and as teeth grind the crunchy flesh one can taste the succulent natural sugars bursting from the juice.

There are many good reasons to eat carrots for health. One serving (one large carrot)contains more than the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A (betacarotene). They are known to contain phytonutrients and other antioxidants like Vitamin C.

They are low in calories; one cup has about 50 calories. While they do have sugar, their total carbohydrates are only about 5% of calories. They are low on the glycemic index, likely because of their fibre.

One thing that always bothered me about the Atkins Diet is the vilification of carrots. “They’re too high in sugar” people tell me. Nonsense! Calories and carbohydrates are not the only reasons to eat a food. Nutrient density should be the goal. Carrots should be eaten with gusto, given their stellar nutritional profile. In-depth nutritional analysis here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=76

Carrots are versatile. I use them as a base for many dishes, along with onions, celery and garlic. From there, I make stir fries, soups and stews. Carrots can be eaten raw with dips, in salads and slaws, and even in desserts. I’ve used pureed carrot in lieu of pumpkin in pies for decades and nobody knows the difference unless I tell them. That was especially fun with my father and sister who both claim to dislike carrots. They couldn’t believe they were eating carrots.

Plan to plant some carrots next spring, even in pots or in a small bed near your home’s foundation. You will reap the rewards for much of the summer and into fall.

To help you consume your bounty of carrots, check out these three recipes.

Carrot (Pumpkin) Pie

Apron Pocket

Carrot & Dill Soup

Learn more abut carrots: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21