The Holistic Chick Online

Heathy and Holistic Inside and Out…Don't Drink Coffee While Riding an Elliptical.

A Trip to the Grocery Store…

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...

English: Different potato varieties. – The potato is the vegetable of choice in the United States. On average, Americans devour about 65 kg of them per year. New potato releases by ARS scientists give us even more choices of potatoes to eat. Deutsch: Verschiedene Kartoffelsorten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…well, not just any grocery store.  Chuck’s Produce and Street Market in Vancouver, WA is my go-to place for groceries.  I have many reasons, one being the wonderful ladies and gentlemen behind the deli counter who are so nice to my mom and myself when we shop on Tuesdays.  *waves hello and gives thanks for the pickled onions*

Part of our produce selections was a bag of organic russet potatoes (a half a potato with vegetarian chili chases the winter chill away, fyi) and for the first time in my life I smelled a potato.  Not that I could get away from it.  That bag smelled so earthy, rich and yes, REAL.  Those potatoes smelled as if they were just dug from the ground.  I have purchased potatoes before (many times) but this was the first time that earthy smell really hit me.  Think about it: the ground gave up this delicious, good for you potato.  No added colors, preservatives, chemicals, nothing.  Just potatoes.

For those who don’t eat a whole lot of “real” food, I implore you to become one with the glorious root vegetables that are prevalent this time of year.  Oh, and put down those bags of baby carrots.  Have a real carrot, with the green tops still on.  Carrots are sweet, did you know, and the majority of their nutrients come from the skin and the layer beneath.  Baby carrots are shaved down regular carrots, so the majority of the nutrients were wasted for the ease of convenience.  Wash your carrots, then eat them.  Don’t peel them.

It’s crazy but yes, a bag of potatoes inspired me for this post.  It was a toss-up between the potatoes, or the amazing oranges that were available.  Thin-skinned, easy to peel globes of nutrition.  When I walked into Chuck’s I smelled the oranges before I saw them.  I only got four of them, my mother doesn’t eat oranges because she’s been disappointed once the rind comes off.  Not these.  We have to go back to get more.

Chuck’s isn’t everywhere, sadly.  For those not in the area, check online to see if there is an organic market in your area, then give them a visit.  The earth gives up an abundance of fruits and vegetables, full of flavor and color and beauty.  No big food marketing campaign and replicate what food can do in its natural state.

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I Give You…Carrots and some Fun Carrot Facts.

English: A bunch of carrots (Daucus carota), w...

English: A bunch of carrots (Daucus carota), washed and placed on a wooden cutting board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Glorious carrots! Thanks Liz!

Image of "baby-cut" carrots

Image of “baby-cut” carrots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baby-Cut carrots, the popular snack, are a bit lower in vitamins and minerals than your standard carrot.  The majority of nutrients in carrots and in and just below the skin, and whittling a mature carrot into a baby-cut carrot eliminates the most nutritious part of the carrot.  I used to love baby-cut carrots, but once I tasted a carrot with its dark green, lush greenery still attached, I haven’t gone back.  Besides, a plastic bag of baby-cut carrots costs more than a simple bunch of carrots.  Save some money, grab a knife and    cut your own carrots, and taste what a carrot really tastes like.

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Sugar/Stevia Blends Question..and that new sugar, Nectresse

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have noticed that both Domino and C&H brands have both come out with “light” versions of sugar, a stevia/sugar blend.

Both brands claim the same for their products:  half the calories of sugar, a half a teaspoon of “light” equals the sweetness of one teaspoon of plain sugar, with no artificial ingredients.

No artificial ingredients.

If you check out the ingredients for both products, they are exactly the same:  Sugar, Stevia, Natural Flavoring.  I can’t locate what the natural flavoring is.

Also, on the S&H FAQ Page, there is this disclaimer:

Q. How much stevia is used in C&H® Light?

Since C&H® Light is a proprietary blend of sugar and stevia, we are not at liberty to share the particulars with the public. C&H® Light is an all natural, reduced calorie sweetener that has met with all FDA regulations and contains no known allergens.

-from www.chsugar.com

There’s no way to find out the ratio of sugar to stevia, and who knows what “natural flavors” mean, so I guess I will be leaving this on the shelf.

Oh, I also came across Nectresse, made by the makers of Splenda.  The first ingredient is erythritol, a sugar alcohol.  Next ingredient is sugar, third is Monk Fruit, last is molasses (from http://www.nectresse.com/faq#32).

Nectresse sounds good, looks good, is marketed really well, but is it really beneficial for us?

 

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Lilly’s Hummus: So Delicious

Lilly’s Hummus: Plain

I love it when I come across something fabulous purely by accident.

I needed hummus, and I stress the word need.  I was at my local Chuck’s Produce and I was about to reach for my little clamshell type container of my stand-by hummus, when I saw a bigger container on sale.

It was Lilly’s Hummus.  Bigger is better, and the ingredients were short and simple, so I took a flyer and grabbed a container of their regular hummus.  As I wandered through Chuck’s, I made sure I had a bag of unsalted pita chips (a weakness of mine when it comes to hummus) and a bunch of carrots with the tops still attached.

(Don’t get me started on those “baby” carrots.  If you want a REAL carrot, get the ones with the greenery still attached.  The flavor is amazing.)

Anyway, I digress.  Lilly’s Hummus wasn’t what I expected at all.  It was absolutely delicious.  Thick, creamy, smooth and with an amazing flavor of…HUMMUS.  I got the Plain, and I am used to brands who call their plain version plain, but it’s usually overpowering with garlic.

Oh, and its chunky.  I am a texture girl, and texture will come before taste any time.  Texture will make or break a product for me.  It doesn’t matter how good it is, but if the texture is off, then no.  Just no.  Lilly’s is creamy smooth and perfectly seasoned and did I say it was creamy smooth?

Here are the ingredients for Lilly’s Hummus, Plain:

Ingredients: Organic Garbanzo Beans, Olive Oil, Sesame Tahini, Lemon Juice, Sea-Salt, Garlic, Citric Acid.

A very simple 7 ingredients.  Unfortunately I have seen brands with 10, even 15 ingredients.

Lilly’s comes in several flavors for those who need something more exciting than “plain”:  there’s Roasted Garlic, Kalamata Olive, Roasted Red Pepper, Roasted Jalapeno (spicy) and my new, all time favorite flavor, Smoked Tomato and Basil.  There is also a Cracked Pepper version, the creators are still tweaking the recipe to make it amazing.

Lilly’s Smoked Tomato and Basil Hummus

Lilly’s Smoked Tomato and Basil Hummus is WOW. I don’t know how else to describe it, so I am going to go with my initial reaction when I tried it.  Just WOW.  Like the Plain, it’s well blended and creamy smooth with a delicious smoky flavor that is out of this world and totally unexpected. It is safe to say the Smoked Tomato flavor has shock value to it, because the amazing flavor is simply not expected.  The smoked tomatoes doesn’t over power the flavor of those delicate Garbanzo Beans, yet the gently sweet-tanginess really shines.  I was stunned, that’s how good this was.

The Smoked Tomato is good plain (seriously, insert a clean finger and go to town if you aren’t sharing your container) or I found it to be fabulous with celery and other goodies, so much so I created a recipe:

Lilly’s Smoked Tomato and Basil Hummus Dish of Fabulousness:

Lilly’s Smoked Tomato and Basil Hummus

Grated Carrots (use the ones with the green tops still attached);

Sliced Avocado;

Celery Sticks, Pita Chips, or Garden Of Eating No Salt Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Add slices of avocado to top of hummus, sprinkle with the carrot, and dip away with the celery sticks, pita chips, or my favorite, those Garden of Eating No Salt Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

 

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EPIC FAIL: Breakfast

English: american breakfast

Image via Wikipedia

Eating breakfast has never been a popular thing for me.  Yes, I know it’s good for me, I’ve read all of the benefits of eating breakfast and the bad things when you don’t.  Heck, even my Nurse Practitioner tells me I should eat breakfast.  Might as well admit it, every doctor I have had has been trying to get me to eat breakfast.

When I was in my 20’s I worked in demanding jobs and I would either not eat or grab something so I could continue moving.  Back then I could handle it (or so I thought) but then I was told I wasn’t getting enough nutrients and my body was in a constant starvation mode, so whatever I ate my body kept because it never knew when it was getting more fuel again.  Did I learn? No, not yet, not 20 years later.  Now, if I don’t eat I start feeling really ill, but I can still push myself to not eat until the afternoon.

Granted, in real life I work swing shift at my jobby-job, so I don’t start work until 230 in the afternoon three days out of the week.  I am generally out of bed around 10 or so, plenty of time to hop online and whatnot before I have to get ready for work.  Even with a couple of hours at my disposal I still don’t eat.

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Image via Wikipedia

Why?

The thought of anything other than coffee first thing out of bed makes me nauseous.  Sadly, I can consume coffee like no tomorrow, until my stomach starts to complain and I start getting that ill feeling from not eating.  Two weeks ago, I completely overdosed on caffeine, so I started drinking half decaf.  Then a week ago I started off my week telling myself that I would make a real effort to eat breakfast, instead of starving myself until 4 in the afternoon when I took my first break at work and could run to Starbucks for a bagel with cream cheese.

I didn’t go nuts on the breakfast.  I did oatmeal with raisins, which I do love.  I ate it.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I ate it.  I didn’t feel great while I was eating it but it did make a difference as the day went on.  After the first day, I figured I could get used to eating in the mornings.  So I had more oatmeal with raisins the second day.  It was easier getting down than the first day, and I did feel decent as the day went on, again.

Alas, that was it.  I lasted two days.  I didn’t eat breakfast for the rest of the week.  EPIC FAIL.  I will try again Monday.

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My “Why I Do Not Drink Milk” Story

Deutsch: Ein Glas Milch English: A glass of mi...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I was asked what I thought about milk.  Not raw milk, I’ve no experience with that at all.  I’m talking about the pasteurized stuff that comes in the gallon jugs at the grocery store,  that comes in chocolate or strawberry flavors, that is served in our schools, that is heavily advertised with pretty people wearing milk mustaches have never seen a product so heavily advertised as being the best thing for our bodies.  It is believable, really, until you see the ads are sponsored by the dairy council?

Hmm.

My Milk Story starts with no politics, no indignant feelings towards dairy lobbyists, nothing like that.   I simply could not drink it.

I don’t recall if I was lactose intolerant when I was born, or why my mother didn’t give me milk when I was little.  Up until the age of 13, when it came to milk I drank soy baby formula in cans.  Prosobe, I think it was called, I don’t even know if it’s around anymore, but that’s what I drank, ate my cereal with.  I remember the smell of it vividly, and I also remember how to make it:  one can, along with three cans of water, made a pitcher.  We’re not talking fancy vanilla flavored soy or anything like that, this was the 70’s and soy was NOT flavored back then, and it didn’t come in half gallons.  I drank that stuff until I was 13 years old, when I decided it was time to be a grown up and drink real milk for a change.  I latched onto the cow and didn’t let go for five years.  I drank milk like it was going out of style.  I could never get enough of it.

I should stop here and let everyone know that other than a case of the chicken pox, I don’t recall any other childhood illnesses while I was drinking baby soy formula.  No ear infections, croup, none of that standard stuff kids always get.

Then I spent five years drinking cow’s milk.  Those five years were the sickest years of my life.  I was always coming down with throat infections.  Not strep, it was never strep, just some sort of infection the emergency room doctors couldn’t figure out, no matter how many throat cultures they did.  I would get antibiotics and they would send me on my way.  Also, during that time period I got the one and only ear infection I would ever have in my life.  It was the most painful experience I have ever had.  Having all four wisdom teeth dug (literally) out of my head at the same time was no match for this ear infection.   The pain was horrific. I was stuck on horrid amounts of antibiotics for that as well.  I will never forget that first night on antibiotics, I didn’t want to miss a dose so I stayed up all night, talking on the phone with my friend Patrick who was sweet to stay up with me.  We were on the phone until five in the morning.  I never forgot that.

Because of that ear infection, I developed sensitivity to penicillin, and I can no longer take it.  Period.  As well, that ear infection left me hard of hearing in both ears for two months afterwards.  Hard to listen to your Sony Walkman when your ears are inflamed.   Shortly after that episode, my mother began seeing a health guru, who got her to change her diet, got her to take out her aggression towards her mother by beating pillows, and got her drinking rice milk and eating all sorts of veggies.  Mom was meditating for an hour every night and doing yoga.  She seemed so healthy so I decided I would somewhat follow her route.  The first thing I gave up was milk because I found out how awful it was for humans, how it caused ear infections and the like.  An ear infection was something I was determined never to experience again.

Therefore, I gave up milk, and then the coughing started.  I coughed constantly for just over a month.  I went to the doctor and I was told my body was getting rid of all of the casein that had built up in my lungs; it was very common for people who quit the dairy to go through a detox process.  The garbage coming out of my chest was thick and just nasty, and that was only after drinking milk for five years.  Five years!  I know people who have consumed milk for years, even decades, and I had all those problems after only five year

I was sold.  I wasn’t going to touch milk again.  It was easy, no milk and no ice cream, but cheese was tough.  I had tried my mom’s cheese alternatives, almond cheese and soy cheese and just no.  I went back to my soy milk and figured that was a major step.  My mother, who never got the taste for soy, drank rice milk.  I admit, soy is an acquired taste.  I can’t deny that.  Texture as well.  Major breakthroughs have been made when it comes to soy milk, but I never did buy the ads that said it tasted just like milk.  It doesn’t.  Not at all, and the texture is wrong.

So there I was, on my non-dairy kick.  By this time, I was in community college, and I was given an assignment to write a paper on something (I really don’t remember what) so I chose to write about how cow’s milk can negatively affect our health.  We had to read our papers aloud to the rest of the class as part of the assignment.  One of my fellow students actually started crying because I would dare suggest not giving children milk, which is what they needed to grow into strong, healthy adults.  She would not listen to a word I said, and thought I was Satan incarnate for even thinking milk was not healthy.  I told her I was allergic to it, she said that there must be something wrong with me (it’s called Lactose Intolerance, but I might as well have spoken Klingon to her).  I tried to reason with her by giving her facts, but she didn’t want to hear anything bad about milk.  As I recall, she left the class in tears.  She didn’t speak to me for the rest of the semester.

All that over milk.  Wow.

The events I mentioned above occurred about 20 years ago.  I never had one of those odd throat infections nor have I had an ear infection since I stopped drinking pasteurized cow’s milk.  I know of the political and health reasons to not drink it, but for me, I don’t have to hop on a single bandwagon.  Simply, milk does not do my body good.

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Beautiful Day

Peaches come from a can

Peaches!

My advice for today:  find a ripe peach and sink your teeth into it.  Let the juice run down your chin, breathe, and enjoy.

One giant step for happiness…

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Finally nice weather…

Iced tea with lemon.
Image via Wikipedia

Summer always shows up when it darn well wants to here in the Pacific NW, with the blue sky and sunshine I am assuming its going to stick around for a while.

The Cottonwood has been blowing regularly, and there’s drifts of it in spaces, like snow.  Needless to say, allergies are just awful this year and every other person I know has a wet, spongy cough which is treated with an inhaler and allergy meds.  I’ve been fairing not too bad this year, I’ve been taking extra Vitamin C.  I’m not saying I have no hayfever symptoms at all, but I have yet to reach the point where I am clawing my eyes out and fumbling for a Benadryl. 

Yet.

The rain has been a sort of a blessing because in my space the world is green and lush.  My lavender plant is thriving to the point of taking over the pot it’s in.

When I drive home from work at night, I roll the window down and I can smell the wonderful aromas of hay and lavender.  Hayfever be damned, I am going to enjoy what is around me. 

Now.  There’s been a lot of press regarding diet drinks and how they don’t help with weight loss.  I plan on offering my own opinion in the form of tisanes.  I went over to Owens Acres and ordered several different teas.  She has some new ones and my stash of Summer Sunset has been depleted.  I had a difficult choice picking what I wanted (one of everything, please, no gift wrap needed) but I have a goodish supply coming so look for a post soon on the benefits of tea over diet drinks.

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Local Harvest is Pretty Awesome.

Fresh Fruit

Image by fensterbme via Flickr

I was checking out the blogs over at Local Harvest this morning, due to a FB update.  Apparently the last blog written by the owner had some folks in a bind because there was a discussion regarding politics and no one going hungry.

This is what stood out for me, the last paragraph of Erin’s post:

Meanwhile, the rest of our manifesto reads like this: The best food is that which feeds body and spirit. This food can best be found at a farmers markets, through a CSA, and in your own backyard. Cooking fresh, unprocessed food and sharing it with people you love is one of life’s great pleasures. We support farms which place primary importance on building healthy soils, protecting the ecosystem, fair treatment of farm laborers, humane treatment of animals, and a sustainable life for the farmers. Protecting biodiversity on farms and seed saving are both good ideas. Genetically modifying crops is a bad idea, as is the current approach to farm subsidies. Local and regional food systems are of vital importance in this changing world and should be encouraged on every level. There is plenty of work to be done to strengthen and expand these systems, work in which each of us can play a role. Onward!

Yes.  This.

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Food for Thought

Arby's Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

A co worker of mine brought in the same fast food meal for three days in a row.  I finally told her, nice sandwich, does she like them?  She admitted yes, but even better, the place where she got her sandwich, fries and Coke screwed up her order once, so they gave her three free meals to make it up to her.  “You can’t pass off free food,” she said to me.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the fast food chain where she was getting her sandwich, and I was able to compile nutritional information for what she was eating.

The only thing that stood out was that her meal contained nearly 4000mg of sodium.

Free or not, I think I will be passing that up.

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