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Habit #4 Prep ahead.

This habit helps with two challenges. This first being what to cook especially on nights when you are tired. The second is produce that can be pricey, dying in your refrigerator before you get a chance to eat it. The answer is planning your menus and prepping your food right after you bring it home.

When I had to feed four children on a budget I used to plan out my menu for about 2 weeks, shop for food every two weeks, buy in bulk as much as I could and then I would do a marathon cooking day, prepping the ingredients and freezing or storing them in the refrigerator. It was a grueling day but it saved me lots of time and money. Plus we ate healthier meals.

I took the same approach with my new healthier eating plan. I plan out two weeks worth of menus then make a list with the needed ingredients. I take my list to the grocery store every two weeks and yes stick to a budget. Then every other Saturday afternoon I spend about 2 hours prepping the fresh produce. One big help is dividing romaine lettuce into leaves, washing and drying them then placing them in a large baggie or container for salads. A second head of romaine is torn and washed and spun dry then put in a second container. I am more likely to make a salad if the greens are washed and ready.

I also travel to my favorite farmers market and pick up produce in season. Here are some ideas on how to prep and preserve it from spoiling. Corn can be shucked and placed in a large baggie. Do not wash it ahead of time. I chop the tops off of beets and cook them until they are fork tender then slice and store in the refrigerator for salads. Tomatoes should sit on a window sill until you are ready to use them. Cucumbers can be peeled, sliced and refrigerated. Carrots, celery, scallions, peppers and radishes are cleaned and cut into dipping sizes. I usually make some hummus and black bean dip to accompany them. Chopping and slicing red onions and garlic are really helpful for quick dinners when I’m tired. Lately I’ve been cutting up a small watermelon and refrigerating it. It makes a great dessert on hot nights.

Finally I make sure I have a healthy sweet snack available. Fresh blueberries and a cut up pineapple are satisfying. Also, I portion almonds and raisins, 1 ounce each combined in a baggie for snacks when I want something sweet. Remember a craving only lasts for about 15 minutes so if you have something healthy prepared you are less likely to run out for ice cream.

The time is well spent because when I need ingredients for a shake they are ready. When I’m craving something sweet I have cut up fruit or an almond raisin snack. Salads are easy. This prep has really helped with sticking to my eating plan.

Try it and share your recipes and prepping techniques. I would love to hear from you.


Are you stuck on the same breakfast?

I don’t know about you but I tend to get in a rut in the morning with the same breakfast everyday. I usually have a protein smoothie before going out to exercise. When the same ingredients are on hand I grab what is easy and make the same boring smoothie. However in order to stay on a healthy eating regimen I need variety.

Summer is a great time to shake up my dull tastebuds by adding fresh, local produce into my morning routine. So today I invited some friends and family to come try some new smoothie recipes. They were pleasantly surprised by the variety of ingredients and flavors. The smoothie bar was a success and I’m sharing our favorites with you. Buy local as much as possible and make some new healthy, delicious breakfast shakes. Now you have no excuse.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 cup Lactose Free Milk

1 Frozen banana

1Tblsp pure peanut butter

1 scoop Chocolate Protien Powder, or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder Chocolate flavor

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup ice.

Blend on high until smooth.

Raspberry Beet Protein Smoothie

1 baby beet, steamed and skinned.

1/2 cup Coconut Milk Yogurt

1/2 cup fresh red raspberries

1/2 cup Coconut Water

1/2 cup ice cubes

Splash of real Vanilla

1 scoop Protein Powder or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder, Vanilla

Blend all ingredients in blender on high until smooth.

Green Superfood Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup Soy or Coconut Milk

1/2 cup green seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 scoop powdered greens or Nutrilite Organics Green Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Pear Raspberry Collagen Smoothie

1/2 large Anjou Pear cored.

1/2 cup red raspberries

1/4 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup cold water

2 tsp honey

1 envelope Collagen Peptides or N by Nutrilite #nofilter Collagen Peptides

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Then here are two recipes for coolers which are thirst quenching on hot afternoons.

Jasmine Green Tea w Mint

Cover 12 stems of fresh mint with 48 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove stems and stir in 1/3 cup of sugar.

Steep 1 Jasmine Green Tea bag in 12 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add to mint tea and adjust for sweetness. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Watermelon Immunity Cooler

1 cup watermelon

1 cup Black Cherry Juice, no sugar added

1 cup ice

1 scoop of Immunity powder, or Nutrilite Organics Immunity Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into glass, sit on porch and enjoy!


Re-Set and Food Sensitivities

If you suspect that you may have sensitivities to certain foods or additives in foods a cleanse and reset may be a good way to find out. For instance, two years ago I was living with a lot of acid reflux, weight gain and joint inflammation. My Chiropractor recommended a cleanse to reveal if I had food allergies and to jump start weight loss.

Since I work with the Nutrilite company I wanted to design the cleanse around their shakes and supplements. After researching several published cleanses and reputable nutrition authors I designed a cleanse and diet reset that I hoped would identify my food sensitivities and help me form healthier eating habits. It began with protein shakes and a whole food plant based diet, then gradually re-introduced animal protein, dairy and gluten in order to discover what foods if any were causing uncomfortable reactions.

Basically you remove certain food groups from your diet for a two week period and then gradually re-introduce one group at a time over the following two weeks. I found that Bovine dairy products, except for yogurt, were causing the reflux and a lot of the joint inflammation. Wheat products came in as mildly irritating and I actually lost my taste for a variety of animal proteins.

Now, I’m working with a whole foods, plant based diet and the weight loss is happening gradually. Joint swelling and pain have almost disappeared and acid reflux is a thing of the past. See some of my former posts here on Healthchat to read about my progress.

As a disclaimer I do have a graduate degree in Nursing and I’ve worked with one of the top Vitamin and Supplement companies for over 30 years so I know a lot about nutrition, however, I do not have a degree in Nutrition or any certifications in that field. Also if you have ever had a violent reaction to food, ie., hives, difficulty breathing, or anaphylactic shock, definitely follow your doctors recommendations when it comes to changes in your diet and eating habits.

Ask me questions and post your comments here. I would love to hear from you and share more of the details.


I’m Back!

After a brief hiatus from blogging, I’m back. I’ve been testing recipes for my vegan, gluten-free friends and I’ve found some good ones. Some of these recipes have been in my cut-outs from magazines box for 20-plus years. I’ve based my recipe on the original with modifications. So, I will give you the source for each. Enjoy!


The 90 Day Vegetarian Adventure Comes to a Close.

It was an adventure and an educational journey that revealed much about myself and how I relate to food.  The most surprising revelation is that I am not a true Vegan.  Rather, I’m a vegetarian who limits fat to 10 gms per day and I eat nonfat dairy products which eliminates eggs.  Adding dairy takes me out of the strict Vegan diet.

There are two main reasons why I don’t eat meat.   I truly dislike the way animals are raised and slaughtered by the large producers and after eating nothing but vegetables, grains and fruit, even the smell of meat bothers me.  I’ve never noticed before that each animal tastes like it smells.  Beef has a bloody, manure taste, chicken tastes like the henhouse and goat, well I’ve not had goat meat, but I can’t get some of the cheese past my nose nor the milk.

The physical results of the Vegetarian adventure have been encouraging.  I’ve lost 15 pounds and one dress size; my total cholesterol is lower ( I’m also taking a statin) and I have more energy.  My knee pain is gone but I have to credit that to a Kenalog shot and also I know exactly what foods cause me to develop a migraine.  When I began the adventure I didn’t have a clue as to what triggered the headaches.

So the adventure was well worth the time and effort.  I will continue with the low-fat vegetarian diet.  Low fat because genetic testing recommended it and it works for me.  I’ve also learned not to worry about what other people think or say.  My family is accepting and they are enjoying the new recipes, one of which will end this article.  The excitement of doing something new is over but I have confidence that this is a diet that I will be able to maintain over the rest of my life.  To all of you who have followed my blog you have my heart-felt thanks.  Reader response made a huge difference for me.  I will close this chapter with a new recipe, and keep checking the blog, I’m on to bigger and better things!

Stir Fried Green Beans

Five handfuls of whole Green Beans, frozen are fine

1 tblsp of Olive Oil

1 tblsp of Tamari 

1/2 tsp of Garlic powder

Wok for frying

Heat the Wok and add the oil.  When the oil is fragrant but not smoking add the green beans and sprinkle the garlic powder over them.  Stir fry the beans for 5 to 7 minutes then add the Tamari  and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed.  Serve immediately, beans should be slightly crunchy.  Serves 4


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure – Day 82 The Traveller

The recent road trip to Denver proved to be a challenge for vegetarian eating.  A few discoveries are noteworthy. For breakfast we packed protein shakes and meal replacement bars.  They make your tummy feel good when you have to eat early in the morning and they keep you from veering off the road into hash browns and sausage sandwiches.

For lunch we found at Sonic, of all places cranberry juice, sugar was added but it was a wonderful break from bottled water and orange juice.  Quiznos grilled mushrooms and onions for my veggie sub and made it to my specifications.  It was delicious.  Of course the Morningstar brand of veggie burger is available at Burger King and if I’m feeling deprived I also order the onion rings.   Finally, the old standby, Cracker Barrel has a four vegetable side dish platter with corn muffins that is very satisfying and they serve pinto beans with a really nice pickle relish.  Their Apple Iced Tea and Sweet Potato Casserole are a highlight of the menu.

Once in Denver we ate at two different restaurants.  Las Fuentes near Speer Blvd in downtown has homemade Mexican food with bean and rice fillings.  The sauces make the food extraordinary.  The Old Spaghetti Factory is a great place to eat if you are hungry and like homemade Italian food.  We ate Mizithra cheese from Greece with  browned butter on pasta, which was the best entree of the week.

Finally, we never go into the higher altitudes without our Perfect Water.  It is purified, re-mineralized, ionized, micro-structured, and oxygen rich which is very helpful when trying to walk or climb stairs in the Mile-High City.

If you have tried to eat a healthy, vegetarian diet on the road send me your finds.  I would love to hear from you.


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure – Cooking for Carnivores

The baby boy is home from college and he is building muscle for wrestling season.  My daughters and husband are looking at me with big puppy dog eyes when I mention cooking a meal with meat while he is home.  The truth is, they enjoy the vegetarian cooking but they never signed on to the lifestyle.  So, tomorrow I’m making Carolina BBQ for them.  The dilemma is, what do I cook for me?  Do I cave and go back to old ways of eating for one day? Or do I sit righteously at the end of the table with my cup of tea and pretend I’m not hungry?  Actually, I decided to make mushroom sliders with slices of onion and a homemade tomato based BBQ sauce.  The sides will be of course coleslaw with low-fat dressing and baked potato skins.  Pear sauce and nonfat molasses cookies for dessert.   The key to cooking for carnivores is to make my own preferences for vegetables just as important as their preference for meat.

Any of you have similar dilemmas?  Send me a comment or questions and we will talk.


New Recipe – Pear Nog

Breakfast this morning produced a new recipe – Pear Nog.  It is a breakfast shake that reminds me of Egg Nog without the eggs, milk and cream, nevermind adding the rum.  Pour one cup of plain soy milk into a blender along with 1 ripe pear, cored and peeled, a dash of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp of real vanilla, and a scoop of  Protein Powder.  Blend until smooth and share with your granddaughter