Evolution of Eating Healthy

I haven’t always been someone who eats healthy. I was raised in the days of TV dinners on trays, sitting in front of Gilligan’s Island in the TV room with my three siblings. Good nutrition and eating healthy may come easily to some, but for the rest of us, it may be a gradual progression of steps.

My family rarely visited or spoke during dinner. Commercials were reserved for running into the kitchen to get more milk. For variety, we would have canned SpaghettiOs, or Campbell’s soup with grilled cheese. Healthy wasn’t a concept that entered into my mind when eating. The goals were good taste and ease of preparation.

This changed when, at nineteen, I took a class on values clarification. The instructor had us assess what our values were by looking at where we were putting our time and energy, and considering what was most important to ourselves. I realized there was a huge contrast between my desire to be healthy and the food choices I was making.

Many of my peers were making their own granola, yogurt and growing vegetables to eat. The “hip” thing was to be a vegetarian. I wanted to be doing these sorts of things, but instead I was eating junk. So, at twenty I became a vegetarian… and started consuming vast amounts of dairy, wheat, and sugar. This phase was, perhaps healthier than the processed food, but it was still essentially lacking in nutrition.

This period was followed by getting married, having four children and wanting them to be as healthy as possible. I call this the tofu stage. I put tofu in almost every dish I made and packed tofu dogs in the kid’s lunches. I felt proud to be raising 4 vegetarian children in a society full of carnivores. Tofu and dairy competed for my attention. Our family favorites, after tofu, were bean and cheese burritos, and macaroni and cheese. To this day none of my four grown children will eat tofu!

I was, indeed, pretty ignorant about healthy eating. Fortunately for my family, I began teaching kindergarten at the private school that my children attended. The school was part of a spiritual yoga community that provided healthy vegetarian food. Things like, brown rice, steamed veggies, fresh salads, and homemade breads and soups were offered every day. Suddenly, my spectrum of healthy foods had many colors and textures and my kids were exposed to a new way of eating. They loved the healthy new foods and so did I.

This period was followed by divorce and the craziness of single-parenting four children. Time became limited, money was tight and priorities had to change. Once again, healthy food choices gave way to convenience and price. I rarely shopped at the local health food store and often filled in the gaps with pizzas, quesadillas, and canned beans. I assigned a night for each child to cook, and our meals were simple and filling. Flour, rice, beans, and pasta were at the top of the menu. Fresh vegetables cost too much so I bought frozen veggies sincerely thinking I was feeding the kids good food.

Fortunately, my awareness of what is genuinely healthy and nutritional food has changed. These days, my children are all grown and I am living on my own. I can afford to buy and choose what I want, and I have continued to evolve my own diet.

Three-and-a-half years ago, I gave up dairy and gluten to get rid of my eczema problem. Then, just 9 months ago, I gave up sugar and chocolate as well. I now have an awareness of the adverse effects of GMO foods on the body, and have started buying organic as much as possible. I see that I am a slow learner when it comes to health and nutrition. But, gradually over time, I have been able to incorporate improvements into my food choices. This transition is happening bit by bit and I am reaping the benefits of my improved healthier diet. My head is clearer, I have more energy, my health is excellent and I feel good about what I eat. Having moved away from processed food, I find that food in its natural state tastes even better.

Who knows, perhaps for the next step, I will become a raw food connoisseur? I encourage you, wherever you are in your dietary choices, to be open to the changes that can bring the priceless gifts of good health and well-being.

Benefits of Paper Bags for Fresh Food

Paper bags are a popular option for a wide range of food items. In addition to being resilient and durable, they are also very cheap and make a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. The paper bags are both biodegradable and recyclable and can be reused on several occasions, provided they are taken care of. Plus, this type of bag is practical for a diverse range of food items, such as spices, candy, cookies, nuts, tea and coffee. This material is also easy to customize to a preferred shape or size, while also being easy to brand with a logo or other mark.

Here are a few of the food items to keep in the paper bags:

Tea leaves

Paper bags are a very useful choice for keeping loose tea leaves fresh. A great benefit of maintaining the freshness of the tea leaves is to avoid losing their potency which will have a negative impact on the taste. Also, these bags can include a polylactic (PLA) lining which is biodegradable and further helps to preserve the freshness.

Nuts and snack foods

Nuts or similar snacks are quick to lose their freshness, aromas and flavor if not kept in an appropriate sealed bag or box. Paper bags that are specially lined are a simple and cost-effective solution for keeping the freshness in. The bags with a reusable design have a metal tab to close the opening and make sure the freshness of the nuts is maintained. Plus, the inside liners are useful for protecting the food against outside elements.

Spices

Spices, flour, salt, sugar, etc. are a great choice to pack in the paper bags. Any of these food items can easily lose their freshness and the ability to seal the bag helps with preserving the flavorful characteristics, while also locking out pests.

Foods with a quite intense flavor can have issues with not only the loss of flavor, but also to attract the flavor of the actual storage container. To avoid issues like this, it is best to use the purpose made bags that protect the ingredients without passing across any unwanted taste.

Also, the paper bags with a polypropylene or glassine liner are a practical choice for maintaining the taste and aroma of the freshly ground coffee

What Are the Fads and Fashions of Food?

How did food fashion change?

Exploration. India had the spices, and China had the tea and those going to far-flung locations started to set up trading. Much of the food we eat today, however, actually originated in the Americas. The pilgrims may have brought the turkey to the first Thanksgiving, but it was the native-Americans who showed up with the pumpkins, corn, beans and sunflowers. While the potato may have saved the Irish from the famine, it was the native-Americans who first cultivated them.

Refrigeration. While it was invented in 1805, refrigerators didn’t really become a must-have have appliance until after World War II when the average household could afford one.

All of a sudden food could be transported from one area or country to another. Roast lamb from New Zealand became a delicacy in England. It was fashionable to serve exotic imported food to impress the guests.

Fast food. Then junk hit the scene big time. The origins of the hamburger have been put through the meat grinder with many claiming to have invented it. And it became trendy so people flocked in that direction and burger joints sprung up all over the place.

People went from eating organic food to chowing-down on what Jamie Oliver exposed as MacDonald’s pink slime that processed meat unfit for human consumption into burgers. Yum.

Then there is the hot dog. Basically it is the scrapings of the abattoir floor stuffed into a condom with enough preservatives so they last forever.

Local, organic and in-season

How local is local? Check out the farmer’s markets. But just because oranges don’t grow in Fargo does it that mean people there should quit eating them? Supermarkets do have their uses.

Organic is gaining momentum in certain circles. In 2002 the United State Department of Agriculture got involved. Translated that means bureaucracy, paper work and permits to insure there are no pesticides or antibiotics in the produce. The up-side is that it saves chicken-eating men from developing male boobs.

In-season implies that the fruits and vegetables are fresh. Then, again, they may have been sitting in the supermarket for two weeks and being sprayed with H2O three times a day.

Fortunately, in a democratic society people can make a decision about what they want to eat. Local, organic or pink slime — over to the consumer.

The last question

What will be the next food fashion? All ready popular in South East Asia, one trend suggestion that is local, organic and in-season is bugs – grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps – as they are pure protein. And may well be the next delicacy.

Brown Rice and Brownie Points for Health

When you see a weight-conscious person or a diabetic turning away reluctantly from a ladle of rice, you can’t help but sigh with sympathy. After all, rice has the unfortunate reputation of being on the other side of health.

However, modern lifestyles and improved information about food categories, sourcing, processing, and distribution have enabled us to make smarter and not-so-harder choices.

Take the case of brown rice. When you shop for a reliably-organic and health-oriented brown rice, you make an informed decision about going for something that works better than other rice forms for its variety of factors. It has a lower glycemic index than many others to start with, which makes it a better choice for those concerned with glucose and carbohydrate levels.

Since brown rice is mostly constituted of both the bran and germ along with the endosperm part of the grain, its fibre component and therefore the health advantage goes up a notch. Its nutrition value is better and being a slow carb or a complex carbohydrate allows it to make sure that when you eat it the sugar levels will not spike immediately.

It is also a relatively slowly-digestible form of rice, so it helps with other fitness concerns. The presence of adequate fibre, as well as minerals like magnesium, selenium, manganese assigns many other health points to this category. When it is hand-pounded, like in the case of sonamasuri raw rice, the richness and organic impact rise manifold. Other rice forms come from rice mills and hence their chemical component is higher for obvious reasons.

It is encouraging to see growing adoption of both organic brown and sonamasuri white rice in the culinary communities of India. The ease with which a varied range of preparations can be also be made, makes it stand equally high on taste as it does on the health plank.
Because of its processing specifics, and organic growth, the nutrients are kept intact in a richer and a more absorbable form. The presence of cholesterol and Trans fat is also notably low in this group. Further, the difference in prices when one compares the medium/short grain variety to a basmati variety makes for an extra factor for this choice.

It is very easy to use and often experts recommend soaking this rice for a few hours to ensure good cooking and to get the desired taste. The absence of stickiness and difference in softness as compared to a long grain are also worth noting. The taste and texture of this rice may vary considerably and hence it would be advisable to allow oneself some time before getting used to its consumption.

However, experts recommend shopping in reasonable quantities as brown rice may have a smaller shelf or storage value than its precedents. One can refrain from buying in bulk.
One can also find a number of new recipes that are now possible with brown rice and organic varieties of rice.

Now, even a health-wary person can walk towards a pot of rice without guilt or worry. Rice when grown organically, processed for nutrition maximization and cooked in the right way is as much of a healthy food as the other alternatives out there. Just make sure that the next time you think rice, you have all the information and alternatives before you buy or cook something from what your habit dictates.

Eat Healthy – Cut Your Food Costs and Save Time

Everyone is so busy these days that many people forgo their health and think they are saving time by getting and eating fast or prepackaged food. They want everything done instantly.

The reality is that not only are you spending a lot more money than if you bought your own food and prepared it yourself – but – you are also neglecting your health. Everyone knows that “fast food” is not healthy. Calories, cholesterol and lack of nutritious vitamins. Everyone knows this – yet people try to justify it by saying that “they have no time and they need to feed their families a quick meal before they go to… ” (whatever activity they have that day).

If you planned ahead – if you planned out your week and your meals – if you took a step back and realized that “yes – you can prepare a healthy meal for your family – in a short period of time” – you would realize that you are not saving time or money by buying fast food.

We are so ingrained into buying into everything that is advertised that we forget to think for ourselves.

Yes – fast food or prepackaged food can be a treat every once in a while. But it should not become the staple of our home.

By being organized and planning out your week and your meals – you can save time and money.

Start by making a schedule of your activities and putting it on a calendar.

Plan out your meals for the week and make a shopping list. The meals don’t need to be fancy. On days when you have activities that you need to get to they can be as simple as grilled cheese and a salad. Or soup and a salad. But homemade food is less expensive. You have control over the ingredients and the quality of the food. By planning them out in advance you won’t feel rushed during the week and you will feel better in giving your family a “home cooked” meal – as simple as it is.

By buying in bulk you will also save money. Look for sales and something that is in season and available locally that week. If something is in season and available locally – it will probably be less expensive. If it’s not something that you planned on serving that week – be flexible and adjust your menu. You can save money by doing so.

When you get home from the store spend the extra time and divide your purchases into portions that you will use at one time. By buying in bulk and making your own individual bags of snacks for the week – instead of buying individually portioned items at the store – you will save a lot of money.

For example – by buying a big bag of carrots and peeling and cutting them yourself and putting them into individual bags for your lunch – you will spend a lot less money than if you bought prepackaged baby carrots.

Buying fruit and healthy snacks – instead of junk food – teaches your kids good nutrition.

Spending a half hour sorting and packing your bulk items into correctly portioned items for your family size – will save you money. But most importantly – you will have provided your family with healthier options.

Buying a weeks supply of meat and portioning out the amount you will use during one meal – and putting it into freezer bags or tupperware – will cut down on the time you will need to prepare that meal later during the week.

At dinner time it will be much easier to pull out the already portioned meat and vegetables and cook them – in a short period of time.

Or you can take the portioned out ingredients and toss them all into a crock pot – and have a delicious home cooked meal waiting for you when you come home. Fast food!

By being organized and planning out your week – you will save time and money. But most importantly – you will have provided your family a healthier eating option.

Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet

You will find this natural protein in grains like barley, wheat, and rye. Some people are allergic to this protein and have a disease called gluten intolerance. It is also referred to as Celiac disease. They have an immune reaction and can cause different symptoms like anemia, weight loss or gain, sudden malnutrition, fatigue, and more. When a person has gluten intolerance they will start eating a gluten-free diet to help prevent these symptoms from happening. Although they do have to be sure to stay away from products with gluten, there is still a variety of food options. There are fruits, vegetables, dairy products, cereals, fish, meats, poultry, and eggs. Your physician will help you with figuring out an acceptable gluten free diet that will give you all of the minerals and vitamins your body needs.

Benefits

A gluten free diet is prescribed, along with drug therapy, for the effective treat of different medical conditions. This diet will benefit the following medical conditions.

• Celiac disease-this autoimmune disorder is inherited and results in injury to the lining of your small intestine after you eat gluten. It is important that you follow this diet plan to promote the healing of the lining of your small intestine.
• Gluten intolerance-the person affected by this medical condition is not able to tolerate the consumption of any food that contains the protein gluten. This diet is necessary as a step in the treatment for people who are affected with allergy.
• Dermatitis herpetiformis-this chronic skin disorder causes fluid-filled blisters to form and cause a burning sensation and severe itching. This happens when a person who cannot tolerate gluten eats foods with the protein gluten. To prevent this from happening you should follow this diet so you do not consume foods with gluten.
• Migraine-some people have complained of having a headache after eating foods that are rich in gluten. It appears that people with Celia disease are affected more by migraines after consuming gluten rich foods than others who have gluten intolerance. Following this diet will help keep migraine headaches under control.
• Autism-research studies that have been conducted on people with autism have shown that the risk factor is related to excess levels of the protein gluten in their body. Anyone with autism should avoid consuming any foods that contain the protein gluten to reduce the complications of autism.
• Weight loss-previously this diet, which can help a person lose weight, was recommended only for people with Celiac disease. Now, many use this diet to lose weight. There is no clinical data to support the effectiveness in weight loss. In some cases people have experienced a weight gain instead.