Ten foods with a bad reputation that are saprisingly good for you

A very much loved family member is always telling me “you shouldn’t eat bread or potatoes because they are fattening”.  I think, well life is fattening!  And your not going to get fat if you eat just a little bit of what you love.  People deprive themselves for no reason, afraid to eat certain foods because they hear or think they’re bad for you.  My goal is to take some of the most judged foods that have a bad rep. and show you that they aren’t as bad as what people think.

1.  Pizza-another food that a very loved family member wants to never eat.  But why?  Pizza can be a very healthy food if made properly.  Fast food pizza is usually made with white crust that isn’t that good for you. But why not make your own crust and instead of using white flower use whole wheat or half in half?  Throw in some flax seeds and wheat germs for some omega 3 fatty acids.  Fresh veggies to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals can also be used.  Also, add lean meats like low fat ground beef and turkey or chicken.  Making pizza at home using fresh ingredients is a very healthy alternative to fast food pizza.

2. Eggs-eggs have a bad reputation due to their cholesterol content and frying eggs or adding butter increases calories, but saprisingly eggs are low in fat, a good source of protein, and helps keep you full so you won’t snack.  And did you know that our body needs cholesterol?  People want to avoid them because of the cholesterol but there is actually good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, so we shouldn’t avoid all foods that have cholesterol.

3.  Bread-now here is the big one.  Bread isn’t called the “staff of life” for no reason. Just like oil and cholesterol, all bread is not created equally.  Whole grain bread is an excellent choice and packed full of fiber and other nutrients.  I reccamend a book: * Making bread at home*.  I can’t see how something so beautiful and homey is bad for you health.  When I make waffles I make mine with whole wheat flower mixed half and half with white flower and I use sugar free syrup because of being diabetic.  Add a little lean sausage on the side and some coffee and fruit and you’ve got yourself a good nutritious breakfast.  (More about coffee later).  Bread is something fun you can make at home and experiment with different ingredients.  You can make it as healthy as you want.  You will be saprised at how many different breads there are when you make it at home.

4. chocolate:  Chocolate contains a substance called flavoids which helps prevent heart disease and cancer.  When people consume chocolate the antioxidents increase in the blood.  There is also a mood altering substance in chocolate which describes why so many women love it.  It actually makes you happy.  The dark chocolate is the best for you.

5.  Peanut butter-  Well not all peanut butter is made the same.  The stuff I grew up with is full of hydrogenated oil added to make it spread easier and not separate.  Hydrogenated oils clog your arteries.  It’s better to eat the natural peanut butter that is made with just peanuts and salt-nothing more.  Sometimes we have to work a bit when mixing it up-but just think…we can consider it as part of our exercise routine-yea that’s a good way to look at it! lol

6.  Coffee-  Coffee is said to make you smarter.  The caffine found in coffee can improve your mood, reaction time,memory, vigilance, and cognitive function.  I have found it to also be an excellent laxative. In moderation caffine is good for you.  It improves both health and brain function.  It also helps you to burn fat, boostes your metabolism and is loaded with nutrients and antioxidents.  Coffee, like anything, is good for you in moderation.  It very well may be the healthiest beverage in the world!

7. Popcorn-Popcorn is not just a snack for the movies- it is actually good for you when not loaded down with butter flavoring. Air popped is the healthiest for you.  Plain popcorn when not cooked with oil or flavored with butter contains only 1 gram of fat per serving (3 cups).  It is a whole grain carbohydrate with small amounts of vitamins and minerals.  The fiber content helps with bowl function, controls cholesterol, and blood sugar.  It’s great to eat when trying to loose weight.

8.  Cheese-  Cheese has a bad rep. because of the saturated fat in it.  But is saturated fat all that bad for you?  Cheese has been around for ages.  Cheese has a slew of nutrients:  calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vit.A and vit. B12.  Americans need more calcium in their diet, especially women.  What’s even better is many cheeses (like cheddar and swiss) contain little or no lactose (if your lactose intolerant).  Also, new research shows that saturated fat has little risk contributed to heart disease, allowing more people to enjoy this wonderful, versatile food.

9.  Are hamburgers healthy ?   O.K. lets treat this just like the pizza.  What’s in a hamburger?  Bread, meat, pickles , relish, onion, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard cheese.  You can choose lean meat.  We’ve already discussed bread and cheese an . What about t he tomatoes pickles, onion, mustard, and mayonaise? Nothing is unhealthy about any of those.  So what are we afraid of? I think there is a stigma with hamburgers from all the fast food joints that just throw things together and call it food. What if we choose lean meats or grow our own veggies? We can choose better bread instead of that white gunk you can roll into a ball like play dough.  You know….that
stuff with no vitamins or fiber. We can also control our portion sizes and not eat three, but just one hamburger. And what about baking the fries instead of frying them?

10. Butter- as far as butter goes anything that is natural is bound to be better for you than the substitute stuff. I’ve read that whipped butter has half the amount of saturated fat as regular butter. But our great grandparents used it and had nothing else so why is butter so bad? It’s not. Most of the margarine and other butter substitutes have artery clogging hydrogenated oils in them . Your body recognises the animal fats in real butter too and can more easily digest them. So the good old fashioned butter isn’t the villan after all.


Ten inexpensive things to do when you can’t exercise outside

Last winter was the worse I had ever seen in Texas. It snowed for a couple of days and we lost power for almost a week. Everything stayed iced over for a week and you could not drive anywhere. I happened to be stuck in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and couldn’t go home to East Texas for two weeks! I had been walking but there was no way to do it now! My blood sugar was also way up and I wasn’t doing anything inside the house-just vegetating.

Here are some inexpensive ideas of what we can do when the conditions are not favorable outside or when you wake up late from a nap and it’s already dark outside…..

1. Move the stationary bike inside and ride while watching tv.

2. Rent or buy some exercise videos (Denise Austin is fabulous and she has a whole slew of dvd’s on Amazon-some very inexpensive). It would be good to buy some ahead of time for a rainy day and you can just pop them in when it’s pouring down rain (or snow).

3. Get the vacuum cleaner out and vacuum the whole house-with gusto. And while your at it clean the entire house-with gusto!

4. Take the dumbells inside and work on strength training. Even combine strength training with riding the sta. bike for something my spouse calls “around the world”.

5. If you have the room do some leg lunges back and forth for 30 min. and then do some cool down exercises afterwards. Lunges are done by extending one leg infront of the other then bending the back leg and try and touch the floor. Come up from that position using the front thigh to push yourself back up. Then switch to other leg and repeat.

6. Put on some music and just dance for 30 minutes.

7. Do some floor exercises like push ups and sit ups.

8. Do some pilates. It would be helpful if you had a book that would demonstrate some of the pilates movements. I reccamend “Fit and Fabulous after Fourty” by Denise Austin.

9. Get out some of those stretchable bands and work out with them. If you don’t know how to use them look around for a good book for ideas on how to use them. These bands are great and save space when you don’t want to move bulky equipment around. They are great for toning and strengthening your arms and legs. Combine with some squats for a great workout.

10. Climb the stairs for 30 min. then do some gentle stretches and maybe some yoga to cool down with and relax.


For the love of food: Mexican food

Getting fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat salad the rest of your life. It’s all about portion control and “all things in moderation” as the Bible says. Some people go too far and outlaw bread, potatoes, eggs. They say, “Bread is bad for you because it just turns to sugar.” or “eggs have cholesterol” or “meat has fat in it.” or potatoes are high in carbs and you shouldn’t eat them.” The key is moderation, not deprivation.

“Mexican food can be some of the most exciting and healthy food around! It doesn’t have to be greasy and unhealthy. It is fun to make too. Rich and colorful and spicy, I don’t think I can live without it!

One of my favorite things to do with Mexican food is to make my own tortillas. Tortillas are made with a special flour called “masa”. There is generally two types of masa: corn and white. Both of them make some of the tastiest breads around! Once you have your masa follow the directions on the back of the package.

It would be benefitial to also have a tortilla press and a cast iron skillet to make the tortillas round and thin and to cook the tortillas in.  You will need to use two pieces of plastic wrap to place the tortilla in while pressing, or use a rolling pin.  I usually use my hands and just press into shape, but this makes thick tortillas and we want thin.

Once the tortillas are round and flat put them in the skillet and cook about 3-5 min. on each side or until you see little brown or black places on the tortilla.

Next you can make tacos. You can make taco filling out of almost anything. One of my favorites is called “Ropas Vieho” or “Old Clothes”. It makes a good breakfast filling.
What you need to do is buy or make some Mexican sausage. It is called chorizo at the grocery store, but I’ve found the chorizo in the grocery store to have too much fat, so I make my own chorizo.

Chorizo can be made easily by just taking some ground beef or pork and adding Mexican seasonings: cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix all together and cook until done.

The final step is to crack about four-five eggs over about 1 lb. sausage and stir until done. Add salt to taste. Fill the tortillas and add cheese and salsa if desired and you have a pretty good breakfast going on there!

Another of my favorite taco fillings is just meat (chicken, pork, beef) cut into long strips, seasoned with Mexican seasonings (cumin, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper) and cooked in a little olive oil until done.
Put into prepared tortillas and top with salsa and cheese or guacamole and sour cream. Delicioso!

My favorite Mexican dish of all time is chicken enchiladas. You don’t need much chicken for this-just about three chicken breasts cooked. I usually boil my chicken. You can roast it if you like but with boiling you can use the chicken broth to make your enchilada sauce.

Enchilada sauce: 1 tsp. flour, 1.5 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 can chicken broth (or use broth from cooking the chicken). 1 can tomato sauce, 1 tsp. lime juice.

In large skillet saute’ the flour in the oil. Add the spices and cook for about min., Add the broth and tomato sauce and the lime juice. Bring to boil and cook and stir until thickened. Fill the tortillas with chicken (cooked) and cooked onion. (It will help if the tortillas were heated in the microwave a bit). Lay them side by side in an oven safe casserole dish coated with the enchilada sauce. (Saving some sauce to go on top). When the dish is full pour remaining sauce on top and the grated cheese and bake in oven until warmed through and cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and jalepeno peppers.


Loosing weight slow and steady….

I’ve been with these support groups who say, “I know if I loose weight I’ll just gain it right back.”  Well, all I can say to that is whether or not you think you can….your right.  I’ve lost 30 pounds over the past three years, and hey-it’s not rocket science.  All you have to do is eat less and move more.  I was a stay at home wife and mother and my children didn’t live with me so I put on 25 pounds because I had no children to chase after all day.  I got up to 275 pounds!  I did’t even try to loose it- but at first just listened to that group that said, “Well if I loose weight I’ll just gain it right back.”  I hate that give up attitude.  I lost 30 pounds in 2011 and I have kept it off for three years!  How did I do it? I just went to beauty college and just being out of the house and doing something caused me to loose 30 pounds.  I still have another 100 to go but I’m not done yet!  I gained back 10 pounds because I finished beauty school and I’ve been around the house and around the food more but  I just lost another 5 pounds since April!  How did I do it?  I started walking at least two miles a day, sometimes three.  I get up around 3:00-4:00 am and have some quiet time and about 6:30 or 7:00 am I go for my first walk.  Then before I go to bed and right before the sun goes down I do another walk, usually totaling out to be 3 miles total per day.

The weight is not coming off very fast, but just that little change in my lifestyle has caused me to loose five pounds.  So since last April I’ve lost that much.  If I keep this up in two years I could loose twenty pounds!  That’s two ten pounds sacks of taters ya’ll!  Then I think if I really really cut back on my eating-maybe I could double that and loose forty pounds in two years!  And I was told by more than one doctor that if I kept this up I could totally go off insulin!!!

It doesn’t take much to make a difference.  Just a two mile walk has worked wonders!  I’ve also shed about 2″ off my midsection!  Man, if I keep this up I can knit that sweater for myself and not have to make adjustments to make it larger!  I can get back into a size 1X and turn those 2X shirts into rag rugs!  (see my other blog about that-“my fiber nook”).

So get off that couch ya’ll and get moving!!!  And that will be one sandwich not two for lunch.  And one serving of potato salad, not two.  Just one hot dog, if you can-not two.  And when you go out to eat think portion size.   Don’t eat until your stuffed-eat until it’s enough and your stomach will adjust.  I never eat until I’m stuffed because it will take three big plate fulls to fill me up!  Avoid the all you can eat buffet.  I know-that Chinese food is good but those are the busters when it comes to our eating enough or staying with any diet plan.  Think portion size and move more-it’s not rocket science. Avoid the all you can eat places and eat less or just fill your plate up once.  You’ll love yourself more when you see yourself dropping the weight.