I used to hang out online with people who were trying to be live frugally. I always thought I could pinch a penny till it squealed, but some of these people were extreme in their methods as well as the beliefs that were driving them to save as much and spend as little as possible. Those groups and I eventually parted ways and the general attitude toward food was a major reason. Many believed it doesn’t matter what you eat and food was an area where you could really cut your spending.
If you know me at all you know I am all about health and wellness. I do have a budget. I do make a shopping list while checking the grocery ads. I’m the person who stands in the grocery aisles actually doing the math trying to figure out the best deal. But our budget is built realistically to purchase fresh fruits and veggies, minimally processed meats and other healthy, naturally gluten free foods. This comes from our belief that you can spend money on healthy food or you can spend money on doctors. We prefer to spend on food.
In addition to my other responsibilities I am essentially a homemaker, making a safe and healthy home for Bob and I. Grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking are part of my “job.” And, strange as this may sound in todays world, I actually like to cook. So taking the time needed to cook from scratch instead of grabbing convenience foods is something I don’t mind doing. At least most of the time. When my other responsibilities are piling up and I barely have time to breathe I do mind and the crock pot gets called into service.
So why am I talking about all this now? Well it’s January, and the beginning of a new year is a time when people seem to be talking, thinking and planning about food. Many resolutions will be food or weight related. Others will be looking at ways to save money and cut the budget.
While all this is going on there are a few things I would like you to consider:
Food is fuel. If the body does not have adequate, quality fuel it will not function properly.
Staying healthy saves not only on doctor bills, lost time from work but also on pain and suffering.
If you really do want to lose weight ask your healthcare professional to help you come up with healthy, reasonable plan. Don’t be taken in by all the fad diets and cleanses being promoted this time of year.
Don’t forget to move. Get up out of your chair, walk, climb stairs, play with the kids, dance, whatever strikes your fancy, just move.
Remember the phrase “all things in moderation.” You will pay for that starvation diet and obsessive physical training later — with your health. Those things are not sustainable and never last anyway.
Remember being healthy is a way of life. Find a balanced lifestyle plan that works for you and live it.
January is National Soup Month. This is great for those of us who are trying to eat healthier this year, especially those of us who live where January is typically cold and snowy.
Soup is a good way to start on the path to healthier eating. But remember not all soups are created equal. Some are healthier than others. I believe the healthiest way to be sure I am eating a healthy soup is to make it myself. That way I know exactly what is going in the pot and don’t have to worry about something not so good for me slipping by me.
So what are a few ingredients I want to include to make my soup healthier?
Start with a low sodium broth — check the label or make your own. Don’t forget vegetable broth. You can also use water.
Add lots of veggies. Try to include some dark green leafy veggies such as broccoli, spinach or kale. An easy way to include veggies is to use a bag of a frozen blend such as a California blend or stir fry vegetables. And don’t forget cabbage soup — just don’t overcook the cabbage.
Add whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat groats or barley (barley is not gluten free).
Add beans and lentils for extra fiber.
Make cream soups without cream by adding some pureed pumpkin, squash or carrots.
Watch the garnishes. Try to slow down on the croutons, sour cream and cheese or replace them with healthier options.
Spice it up. Herbs and spices are always a good way to add flavor to anything. If you use packaged blends be sure to read the label for added sugar, salt, gluten, etc.
Start on your path to a healthier way of like with a bowl of nice hot, healthy soup for an easy way to work in those much needed vegetables.
Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie? I know I do, but I also enjoy savory pumpkin dishes, like my Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon. This recipe and more are available in Have Yourself a Healthy LIttle Holiday.
Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon
6 strips turkey bacon diced check the label for gf turkey bacon — I use Jennie-O
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Brown turkey bacon.
2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. Reserve for later.
3. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until lightly browned.
4. Add water and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until just a little liquid is left on the quinoa.
6. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.
7. Reserving 1 Tablespoon of bacon for garnish add rest of bacon to quinoa. Stir.
8. Return pan to stove, cover and allow remaining liquid to be absorbed.
9. Pour pilaf into serving dish and garnish with remaining bacon.
Like this recipe? Find more of my holiday recipes in Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday available at Espirational Books.
Who doesn’t love cookies?Cookies turn even an ordinary day into a celebration. This is my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe jazzed up a bit. Just in time for holiday cookie exchanges, this recipe is gluten free, egg free and reduced fat. Don’t be fooled by the ingredients in this recipe. These taste so good, if you don’t tell them, people without food restrictions will never guess anything is missing.
Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookies
2 Tablespoons flax seed meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons hot water (this will replace the eggs)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of butter)
3/4 cup agave nectar (instead of white and brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (don’t worry buckwheat isn’t even a distant relative of wheat)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cranberry almond trail mix
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.
Combine flax seed meal and hot water. Stir and let sit until thick (consistency of egg whites).
Combine flax seed mixture, applesauce, agave and vanilla in large bowl. Mix well.
Add flours and baking soda. Stir to blend in flours.
Add chocolate chips, trail mix and coconut. Stir till well mixed.
Spoon by tablespoons onto baking sheet. Press out a little with back of spoon dipped in water if you want a flatter cookie (these won’t spread out like cookies with butter and sugar.)
Bake in 350 degree over until bottoms of cookies are browned.
Recently I stumbled onto a page on the Butterball turkey website I thought I should share with you. It not only has a nice graphic on how to know if a Butterball turkey is gluten free, but also has links to more information in the FAQ and recipes. Who doesn’t love recipes? So go take a peek.
It often seems everywhere you look during the holidays there is food. Unfortunately it is often not food that is friendly to those watching what we eat no matter the reason. You can go through the holidays feeling depressed and angry because of what you can no longer eat or you can come to the realization that life does not stop because what you eat has changed. Neither does the ability to celebrate. There are things you can do this holiday season to focus on other ways of celebrating.
1. Center your celebration on the lessons or stories of the holidays you celebrate.
2. Center your holiday party on an activity other than eating.
3. Go caroling.
4. Devote your time and yourself to charity and good works.
5. Go on a holiday light tour.
6. Attend local festivals and pageants.
7. Engage in your favorite outdoor activity.
8. Decorate your house.
9. Develop your own special holiday tradition.
No matter what holiday you celebrate or in what way, don’t forget the celebrating. Make the holidays a time of joy — sing, dance, celebrate light and life! Remember, it isn’t always about food!
More ideas, recipes, and ways to celebrate that do not include food may be found in my holiday book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday, available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store. For those looking for gluten free recipes, all of my recipes are naturally gluten free or include gluten free options. Remember proceeds from Espirational Books go toward keeping Espirational.com and Espirational.org up and running.
Rogene Robbins is an artist, writer, student of positive thinking and spirituality and home cook who has been living and cooking gluten free for eight years. She focuses on the positive aspects of gluten free living and using creativity to improve quality of life. Rogene is the author ofHave Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday and The Gluten Free Good Lifeavailable at Espirational Booksand the Kindle Store.