Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Health Nut: To Dairy or Not to Dairy?

I am going to start a new category of posts called "Health Nut"... under this category I will post about ideas that I get from health literature that I have reviewed.  I would love it if friendly informative discussions could be evolved from the topics posted under this title.

My mother in law has been struggling with low energy for quite some time now.  She has seen many doctors and tried so many things from therapies to vitamins recommended by everyone, including me.  She just can't seem to break through it.

Dave and I started overhauling our highly processed diet because of a couple of documentaries we watched on Netflix.  I highly recommend them, if you haven't watched them already.  One is called "Food Matters" and the other is called "Hungry For Change."  You don't realize how many CHEMICALS you ingest in things that you buy processed.  Do the research yourself, I really don't want to preach at anyone.  You all are big girls and boys, you can decide for yourself what you think your body will run better on.

Back to my mother in law.  After Dave and I decided to make so many changes, she decided to start doing her own search for better health and nutrition.  She came across some books involving food-combining and health makeovers.  She purchased these books for me as well, isn't she so sweet? ha.  So, I have started reading one of them.

The book is called "The 30 Day Total Health Makeover" by Marilu Henner.   I know, sounds like a gimmick of a title.  ha.  I began browsing and found myself getting upset at a couple of the things she expected me to give up.  I have already cut most refined sugar out of my diet.  All of my sugars come from raw honey, raw sugar, and whole grains.  The problem came when she wants to take away my caffine!  DUDE!  That is my stress relief!  You can't take away my coffee, tea, and chocolate... yes, I know you can find decaf versions of coffee and tea... but seriously?  I can't give up chocolate.  Sorry... nope.  Then she wanted to take away my dairy!  Milk, cheese, yogurt, ICE CREAM, lattes and again chocolate! 

After reading a little bit of what she had to say about milk, I can understand, it makes sense.  A lot of people have some degree of lactose intolerance and that is because they lack the enzyme lactase to digest milk sugars (lactose) properly.  It makes one wonder if the reason why some of us have the enzyme and some don't is because we weren't meant to consume lactose, and some of us developed the enzyme through adaptation.  I don't know, I'm just guessing right now, but I have loosely read a few research articles on cows milk, and the research so far has supported that we do not have to drink milk, that we can get just as much calcium from nuts and dark leafy greens.  Milk is simply the more convenient way to get calcium.  I am going to be researching it more, but I am very interested in getting thoughts on a dairy free lifestyle, and how would one approach it with a toddler and kids?  I have tried almond milk before and wasn't thrilled, I might need to give it another try.  I can't do soy milk because the phytoestrogens are supposed to be dangerous for women who have elevated risk of breast cancer... ahem.  I do.  Soy is out.

I would love for you all to weigh in.  Please only responses that you can back up with either experience or literature.  I do not want opinions on dairy as much as I want facts to back up either keeping dairy in the diet or eliminating dairy from the diet (opinions with facts are highly welcome, though!).  If you are living a no dairy lifestyle, then I would love to hear how you do it and how it effects your children if you have any.

Monday, May 20, 2013

School's Out For Summer!

My third semester is in the books!  I am fairly happy with my grades, although I did make my first B since going back to college.  College Algebra is tough.  Period.  So is human physiology, but I managed to wrangle an A in that class.  So glad to be finished for the summer though, because this semester took a lot out of me.  I plan to have a good time this summer and focus on losing weight.  No matter how healthy you are eating, if you are over-eating, then you won't lose weight.  The stress of finals causes me to eat, and even though that food is all natural or organic... it's still calories that I didn't need... so I haven't lost any weight lately.  I think I may have gained a pound, but I plan on going to the gym regularly during the summer.

Next thing I wanted to talk about was my new tea and tea infuser!  I am a little behind on the loose leaf tea craze.  Better late than never... I'm hooked.  I got a cheap tea infuser and some orange spice and earl grey from Mama Jeans, and coffee has been taking a back seat. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry - Recipe

You may notice that I often cook with my cast iron skillet.  I think it is a good idea to ditch the teflon covered cooking pans.  I won't use this post to preach against teflon non-stick cooking pans here, but please research it and make the decision yourself.  If you do ditch the teflon, I recommend getting a good iron skillet.  I love mine.

Moving right along.  This is a recipe that I made up on the fly.  It doesn't get much better than the combination of peas and carrots, and chicken and noodles.  This recipe doesn't take culinary genius, none of my recipes do, because I am just the typical busy mom.  I need quick, easy, and nutritious.  I simply want to show you how I do it.  I don't pretend to know a lot about anything, but I do know basics.  This is very basic, and often times, basic is what is needed for success in eating nutritious meals.

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry
2 Chicken breasts sliced in strips against the grain
3 carrots sliced thin at a slant
1 - 2 handfuls of snap peas
1 small onion sliced and halved
2 - 3 cloves of garlic
(optional: 1 Bell pepper sliced)
1/2 box of whole wheat fettucini
1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil (or your favorite stir fry oil)

Put a pot of salted water on to boil.  While the water is heating, prep your vegetables.  Lightly salt them and pepper them and set them aside.  Heat your skillet with a tbsp of olive oil (or your favorite stir fry oil like sesame seed oil) Slice your chicken, salt and pepper to taste and place in the hot skillet.  Cook for a bout 4 - 5 minutes turning to cook evenly.  Immediately after your chicken is in the skillet to cook, put the noodles into the boiling water. Give them a stir.  Check on your chicken.  Once it appears to be cooked through, add in your vegetables.  Stir them around and add a bit more oil if needed.  Cook until the onions are softened by not translucent.  You want the vegetables to be more on the crisp side than tender, or else your are destroying the nutritional value in them.  Your noodles should be done at the same time as your stir fry mix.  Drain them, and you can go about this last part in one of two ways.  You can either add the noodles to the skillet and stir them around a bit with the other stuff... or you can plate the noodles and add the stir fry mix on top.  Either way you choose to do it... enjoy.  This is one of my favorite meals.