Citrus Butter Garlic Chicken and Asparagus

This is a yummy one skillet meal that we made on our Facebook Live cooking show tonight!  You can see that recipe video here! 

I love this because it is fast and easy and doesnt dirty up ten pots and pans!  You can make this after work in less than 20 minutes!

Here are the ingredients!

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts butterflied if thick.

1 bundle of thin asparagus

1 fresh naval orange

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp grass fed butter

6 cloves of fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

 

Break ends off asparagus to desired length.  Cut orange into four quarters.  Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic to the skillet and take the knife and pop each clove to release flavor as seen in the video before adding to pan.  Add asparagus to one side of skillet and the 2 chicken breasts to the other.  Tilt pan and baste asparagus as well as the chicken breasts.  Sear each side of the chicken.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and vegetables and squeeze the juice of one quarter of the orange on chicken and one quarter on the asparagus.  Cook chicken until juices run clear turning over every couple of minutes.  Keep basting with the juices in the pan. Be sure not to overcook the chicken as it will dry out and be tough.  Just before plating, squeeze the other two pieces of orange onto the chicken and veggies and serve!

This is a great meal with a nice salad on the side!

Enjoy!

XOXO

Erin and Ben

 

If you REALLY love your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! There are two distinct camps when it comes to celebrating this holiday. Many, like me, love this holiday and thinks it’s adorable! And there is the anti-Valentine’s Day camp who think it’s holiday created by the greeting card companies to take our money.

Somehow over the last few decades, we have turned our Holidays into Foodidays (Yep! I just invented that word). Meaning that whether it’s Christmas, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s or Valentines it has become inextricably linked to FOOD.

Before Christmas even passed, stores start receiving boxes and boxes of pink and red candies. I’m not sure why our expression of love on Valentine’s Day has become wrapped up in giving out artificial foods!valentinecrap

Making our holidays about giving sugar heavy treats sends the opposite message than what we are trying to say. What is actually coming in a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates are processed chemicals, causing damage to our gut bacteria, and sugar which can causes more illness than smoking.

Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now and saying “It’s just once a year”, or “They’re just kids”. But is it really only one day a year your kid eats sugar heavy treats? Most likely not.

Our culture has shifted dramatically. I remember stories from my Grandmother of maybe once a month, going to the corner store to get a Coke. The unfortunate truth is that once a year has turned into once a day for many and at least once a week for most. 50 years ago the average American ate approximately 4 pounds of sugar per year. NOW, we eat approximately 156 pounds per year as of 2015.

Our bodies were not designed by God to handle and process this amount of sugar. Excess sugar is just as toxic to the liver as alcohol causing many to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease even though they abstain from alcohol. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing you can put into your body and is not just the root cause of metabolic syndrome, but now scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.

Let’s break the cycle with this generation by making wise choices. Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn Valentines Foodidays back into a Holiday expressing our love for one another!

SPOUSE:

1. Cooking a healthy meal together. Keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a time to discover new foods and try unique recipes.

2. Study God’s word as a couple. Going hand in hand with keeping our bodies as a temple, make a conscious effort to start the habit this valentines day. bible-hearts-18066504You could even start with Song of Songs, a great book that focuses on biblical love and intimacy.

3. Make them a gift! I will never forget the year Ben took an old mirror, which had sentimental meaning for me after Katrina, and turned it into a jewelry holder. One year I got a jar with 365 things he loved about me with instructions to open one a day for a year. The choices are endless and you might have the supplies needed already at home.

4. Give them the gift of time. Block out a few hours to intentionally spend time with your Spouse. Whether it costs money such as going to dinner, movie or a concert. You could also choose something more inexpensive like a scenic walk or look into the free days offered at your local art museum.

KIDS:

1. Cook WITH them! Having kids in the kitchen can seem like a headache but I promise it is so rewarding. My granddaughter loves to make almond flour banana bread with us. Kids love getting involved! Having them help you shop and prepare a meal is an easy way to teach them about their food choices.

2. Get crafty. Pinterest is full of ideas that are simple an easy. A great substitute for the traditional candy gift.

3. Have a family date night. Get the whole crew together for a fun dinner out or a matinee movie. Or get your family active by going to a Trampoline Park or the skating rink.

4. Sugar-Free Gift Ideas: For older kids gift cards can be a huge hit. Whether a clothing store or even a gas gift card let’s them have some ownership in choosing the most appropriate gift. For the younger kids there a ton of heart-themed gift options. Stuffed animals, valentine socks, crazy heart leggings, or earrings. You can even find some great choices in the Dollar Spot!

5. Build something together. No matter your gender, your kid will love this. Make a woodworking project. There are great kits available at most craft stores. Also many Home Improvement stores offer weekend classes to make and take an item for yourself!

I’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg with healthy ways to say “I LOVE YOU”! When my husband writes me a love note or makes me something it expresses affection deeper than an expensive gift or a heart shaped box of candies. What are some of your favorite Valentine’s alternatives?

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

Ansley’s almond flour banana bread

My six year old granddaughter Ansley loves to cook.  Back when her dad and the rest of my kids were younger, I was still a 350lb food addict who knew zero about nutrition.  I feel like I am getting a do-over in the healthy department with her.  She is really developing a love for cooking.  We did our own tweak of a banana bread recipe my best friend Tammy found.  We added a few things and took out a few and this is the result!  This is the first loaf of bread  Ansley made!  No sugar or wheat products used! Low carb and healthy!

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cups Kerrygold or any grass-fed butter at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

1 cup of Stevia or Splenda

3 medium bananas mashed

2 cups of almond flour

1.5 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 cup ground flax seed

1 cup of walnuts (optional)

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Ansley mixing the butter and eggs and Stevia

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to  350 degrees and grease and flour a bread pan.

In a bowl mix the eggs, butter, and Stevia until smooth and creamy.

Add the mashed bananas and stir together.

Add all the other ingredients except for the walnuts  and mix  together well.

Fold in the walnuts

Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until golden brown and the center is dry to a toothpick.  Ovens will vary.  Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan and place on a plate to cool.

Enjoy!

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My Ansley had a blast making this and it has become a weekly favorite in our house!  Loaded with protein and fiber and nutrients and very low in carbohydrates and sugar!

XOXO

Erin

The Most Maddening Time of the Year

SO I have a story to tell you.  It is a drama, a comedy, a tragedy, and a love story all rolled into one.  It is about the human race.  The setting is Thanksgiving week anyplace in America.  Millions of people will gather with their loved ones and celebrate every blessing God has bestowed upon us all year-long and they will have food and fun and fellowship and many will be seeing each other for the first and maybe only time this year because of jobs and distance and expense for travel etc.  I adore Thanksgiving.  For me it can be really easy to take for granted the things I need to be thankful for and sometimes I tend to focus on what ELSE I want or think I need.  Sometimes I need a good reminder that my God is a God of divine provision and always provides exactly what I need each day.  I am breathing and that is a blessing.  I have a warm sweater on today on this chilly fall morning and that for sure is a blessing.  My family all came over for Thanksgiving and I got to see my sweet grand-babies and that too is a huge gift.  Is my life perfect?  Of course not.  We worry about finances and our kids and the same things as everyone else.  But I am beyond thankful.  My cup truly runneth over.  And the fact that God decided five days was long enough for me to have the flu and I woke up today feeling like a new woman is something else I am SUPER DUPER thankful for along with the creator of Tamiflu.  Yep I am very thankful for them!

I love Christmas also.  Most importantly because Christmas celebrates the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. It truly is my very favorite holiday and time of year.  I usually have my tree up by Thanksgiving weekend and have Christmas music on my XM radio by Nov 5.  I LOVE Christmas.  And having grandkids makes Christmas so much fun.  I love watching Ansley and Laila open their gifts and look so excited and now we have sweet little Maddox and his first Christmas this year.  Nothing makes me happier than a house full of smiling faces.  So yep, I am a little Christmas crazy for sure.

However, In my profession, as a nutritionist and holistic health coach, this time of year completely saddens me.  So we start Thanksgiving Day and gorge ourselves (because that truly is how we show thanks in America????) and then we start the gorging season, I mean Christmas season and we eat our way to December 31 and then that night we eat and drink some more just one last hoorah and then we wake up January 1 feeling tired and bloated and our pants are too tight and we make these insane resolutions and purchase an annual membership to a gym (which they love because you don’t use it after March and they make a killing) and buy the latest diet fad that promises you to lose 10 pounds in 10 days and we start this mode of deprivation. We put our bodies into a serious turmoil and this cycle of gorging and dieting and bingeing and starving does terrible things to our metabolism and gut health that most people just do not understand.  Why do we do this?

How did we evolve into a nation that has this feast or famine mentality?  We are always either gorging or dieting and it is a vicious endless cycle. Our gut microbiome is a delicate precious thing that God created with the exact balance of good and bad bacteria.  The day we are born and we start introducing baby formula, processed baby food, sugar laden juices and then as we get older more processed foods and chemicals and medicines the gut balance deteriorates and this causes a host of issues.

We have literally been spending the last 50 years as part of a human experiment gone terribly wrong.  But the story of the covered up science about sugar and the original food pyramid and the Ancel Keys story is another blog for another day.  Just understand that when the food industry, as powerful as it is, manipulated the science and your government, the old grain heavy fat is bad food pyramid came to be and thankfully science is now disregarding and tweaking that daily.  By 2020 hopefully sugar and grains will be the smallest portion of the new “Choose My Plate” guidelines.  However not to digress.

We have set a very dangerous socialization standard for ourselves that says treating our bodies as the temples God intended means deprivation and putting trash into our bodies is a treat or reward?  Backwards much? Oh I am sure the devil loves this trait in us for sure.  See the weaker the body the weaker the mind and the weaker the mind the easier for the devil to get inside.  God doesn’t instruct us to be healthy and treat our bodies as temples just because he cares about nutrition, God knows that the stronger our bodies are the stronger our minds will be and the better we will be able to obey what God is calling on us to do. Think about it for just a minute.

1Corinthians 6:19 tells us “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”  The verse is extremely clear and yet we seem to ignore this one as a society.  We eat an average of 150-170 pounds of sugar per person per year in America.  However during the 1800’s this number was closer to 4-6lbs per year.  We eat more processed fake lab created edible food-like substances than we do real food made by God.  When I speak to local high schools and challenge the kids to go 14 days with no fast food they literally look at me as if I had six heads.  The idea of giving up fake food is so totally foreign to them.  Often I will look at a food log of a teenager and not see one home cooked meal for a week.  This just boggles my mind.  Our taste buds are so jacked up from the chemicals and fake food we eat, (oh and for the record- anything from a box or a package or a fast food joint is fake food.  Anything that doesn’t come from nature and cannot be killed caught or grown is fake food) that we do not even truly know what we like anymore when it comes to food.  It will shock you how differently things taste when you detox off the fake food and fill your body with good real food.

On top of our obsession with food- usually fake food- we have this really unhealthy relationship with our bodies.  The media dictates what beauty is and gives young women and men these insane ideals that they then begin to strive for that are often extremely unhealthy.  Kids are born loving and accepting their bodies and all of those around them.  Once again socialization takes over around middle school and all of a sudden if you do not dress and look and act a certain way kids tend to be cruel and mean and this begins some very unhealthy patterns that can have lasting effects on our lives and our ideas of self-love and acceptance.  Sometimes the pressure of trying to hold up to society’s standards can lead to some very unhealthy relationships with food and with our bodies.

I know because I was there.  See, long before I went back to school to study food and nutrition, I was a 350lb food addict.  I have been in recovery for almost 10 years.  I used to think if I were just skinnier, or just a little bit prettier, or just a few pounds smaller I would be just right.  It took me a long time to realize that I am just right as I am.  Of course I am a work in progress with a long way to go and I spend each day working to treat my body as the temple God created and to refine that temple to the best of my abilities.  Some days I do great and some are total fails, but it was a huge lesson to realize that the shape and size of my body did not define me.  I am six feet tall and will never ever be a tiny petite woman.  But I can be healthy.  I can refine my temple to being the best version of Erin that honors God that I can be!

The diet industry makes me cringe.  Trust me I have tried every single one out there and the honest truth is there is NO DIET that works long-term.  If one did the rest would go out of business.  There are styles of eating that are good in theory.  Staying on a style of eating that is plant heavy, low in carbs and sugar, and low in processed fake food is a winning plan! Imagine if  we all STOPPED THE DIETING MADNESS and focused on getting our guts as healthy and balanced as possible and treating our bodies as the temples they were intended, eating real food and stay off the sugar and fake stuff.  If we truly accomplished this task, as God has commanded us in the bible, we would all be happier and healthier.

Have you ever really thought and prayed about these two verses?

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Most People take better care of their cars and pets than they do their bodies. To be truly healthy and in a right place with God, we have got to get to the place where we take better care of our bodies and put our health as a top priority.  I think it goes without saying that if we were acting promiscuous or using illicit drugs or overindulging daily in alcohol, we would feel convicted.  But why then do we not feel that same conviction for being sedentary and for putting fake chemical laden food into our bodies day after day?

Let’s keep it real for just a minute.  What I am about to tell you may not be popular but it is the truth.  We all know someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or some other addiction and let’s face it we all judge.  But then we think nothing of gorging on sweets and processed fast food and junk and how dare anyone judge us for that???  Treating the body like a temple does not just apply to abstaining from the usual suspects.  It means eat real food.  God gave us all we need to nourish these temples in nature.  Animals and plants.  We certainly do not eat enough plants in this country and if we did we would be a lot healthier.  Each plant color has a specific nutrient and purpose.  And no don’t tell me you eat or drink some superfood powder that gives you your veggies, or drink some artificial ketone drink, or the latest greens drink .  Hogwash.  That is all gimmick after gimmick.  EAT REAL FOOD. Get your gut healthy.  We don’t do this enough which is why every human on the planet needs a great multivitamin, probiotic, and magnesium supplement.  And no for those rolling their eyes at me, this is not a plug for you to use the supplements I use, (which are the best out there) it is a plug to eat real food and treat your body like a temple.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying we will never again have a slice of grandma’s apple pie or ever have a treat on vacation, but what we  are doing on a daily basis is making us sick.  Most people don’t even realize the 95% of chronic disease is preventable based on what we eat and drink.  THAT SHOULD SCARE YOU TO DEATH!  What I am saying is that we need to do a better job of every day asking ourselves if everything we eat or drink or do is truly to the glory of God?  Yes this means what we eat but it also means the thoughts we allow to creep into our heads.  It means comparing ourselves to others.  We don’t need to be like someone else to be good enough.  We are enough and God only calls us to be the best version of ourselves.  The best version or Erin will always be a six foot tall woman and never a petite tiny super model.  But guess what?  That is AOK!  God didn’t call me to be a size six.  God called me to be the best version of Erin.

I say we start a movement.  A real movement of people who say NO MORE to falling for the latest diet trap.  A movement that understands that eating crap daily is just as much a sin as smoking and doing drugs and being promiscuous and drinking to excess.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.  A movement that loves these temples God gave us and that understands we are all beautiful broken works in progress.  A movement that shows ourselves and others grace when we stumble and falter and have a bad day, not one that says “oh well, I ate a cookie so I blew it and may as well eat the whole bag.”  A movement that knows we were made to move and does its’ best to move our bodies daily.  A movement that knows self-care is a critical part of the picture and that means saying no to overextending ourselves and yes to some ME time.  A movement that knows that one bad day of eating doesnt mean we are doomed to be unhealthy forever.  A movement that does our best to refine and tweak these temples.  A movement that wants to be the best versions of ourselves and that truly loves ourselves and understands without a shadow of a doubt that we are beautiful and blessed creations of God. A movement of #templetweakers

No diets, no resolutions, no negative self-talk.  Just real broken flawed people making a commitment to do our best to follow what God commands and to treat our bodies as temples every single day as best we can.  Each meal is a chance to honor God.  Each time we fill our cups is a chance to honor God.  Each time we move our bodies and choose the home cooked meal over the fast food burger is a chance to honor God.  Each time we help and support another is a chance to honor God.  Will you join with me and commit to refining your temple?  Will you be a #templetweaker with me?

We have a public group on Facebook called #TempleTweakers. Feel free to join and have support as you work to refine and tweak your temple.  We want to hear your daily victories and support you when you are feeling low.  Let’s band together and create a movement of positive, loving, grace-giving people working to be the best versions of themselves.

XOXO

In Health!

Erin

 

 

Back to School Healthy Breakfasts and Lunches for Kids!

It is that time of year when we send the kiddies back to school and that also means in most cases, sadly, back to sugar and junk.  The school lunch system in this country is so broken and so filled with cheap processed and sugar and carb laden “foods” that my suggestion is to just send lunch with your child from home if possible.  Why the lunch system is so broken is another blog for another day.  SO with that being said, lets talk about some ideas to pack lunches that are not going to make your child sick and hinder their learning abilities.

Before we look at lunch, lets chat about breakfast.  Most parents are busy and working and on a budget and need fast inexpensive ideas for breakfast.  That usually leads to a breakfast filled with sugar.  Or just as bad, CARBS which turn to sugar once eaten.  It is critical to remember that when you start your day with a carb laden breakfast, you are setting yourself up for a day of blood sugar spikes and falls, hunger, fatigue, crankiness, and more.  Oh and the same goes for your kids.  78321160_XS

To give them the best shot at good grades and good health, you have to start with breakfast.  If you are giving your kids cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, breakfast bars, or even worse, pop tarts or toaster pastries of any kind, JUST PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL STOP! And here is where you say “oh I am doing super healthy cereal like Cheerios or Granola.”  SO here is a reality check for you.  Every four grams of carbs not offset by fiber converts to a tsp of sugar in the body. You can eat a bowl of white table sugar, or you can eat a bagel, cereal, toast, oats, grits, or any other supposedly healthy starch.

Think back to those commercials from childhood with Tony the tiger and the idea of a great breakfast.  It was pretty much all sugar, except the milk.  4936060-Morning-breakfast-with-cereal-toast-and-a-glass-of-orange-juice-Stock-Photo

Orange juice- pure sugar.  Toast- pure sugar.  Cereal- pure sugar.  This entire meal, once consumed will convert to sugar. This is not going to give your child a chance for a healthy day or a happy day or a day of learning.  The only thing that gets healthy with a meal like this is the wallets of the very powerful sugar and corn and grain growers and manufacturers.  Try a breakfast packed with protein and fiber and vitamins instead.

Some great options for breakfast are omelets with meat and cheese and veggies and maybe some fruit on the side.  menu-omelettes-vegetableNot fruit juice but a piece of fruit or some berries.  In a hurry? try a couple of boiled eggs and a banana.  Bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs is actually a pretty quick breakfast.  Another option I love is egg cups.  Check out a million different recipes on Pinterest.  Basically you take a cupcake tin and spray it and put a meat/protein on bottom, then throw a few chopped veggies and some cheese in and then crack an egg in each tin and season the top and bake.  These also keep well for a few days in the fridge so you can make a dozen on Sunday and have breakfast for the kids and yourself for a few days.  I cannot tell you how often we will pop two of these in the microwave on the way out the door on a busy day. Breakfast burritos and breakfast pizzas made with low carb tortillas and breads are also delish.  Options are out there that are made with REAL food and not processed boxed junk.  We just have to make finding these a priority.  Google low carb breakfast for kids and look at the options.  If you are really in a time pinch, buy a protein powder that is low carb and low sugar and give your kids a healthy protein shake.  Some of the best brands out there for taste and numbers are Quest or the one we carry with Plexus. Stay away from high sugar drinks masking as healthy like Ovaltine or the other breakfast drink mixes out there.  They are just chemical laden sugar and carb filled junk.

So now that we have some good options for breakfast, let’s move on to what you can pack in your child’s lunch to keep them healthy and alert and feeling good all day.  636098157941051519-1927003317_lunchablesThere are two things to avoid at all costs, and they are in almost 60% of school lunches brought from home for kids aged 5-12.  Lunchables and juice boxes.  Lets look first at the kid friendly and kid-approved Lunchable. This is literally a box of chemicals and fat and sugar and salt.  Grab one and read the label.  Read the total sugar and total carb counts and it will likely be more than a days worth of sugar and remember that those grams of carbs convert to sugar also.  What makes these little packages even more offensive is the idea that this is just not real food.  Yes it is cheap and quick, but it is not suitable for your child to consume.  In fact it is so bad that if you read the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, you can hear from the man who invented this fake food and how his own kids don’t even eat them.

There is just no way to find a way to call this hot mess food.  And of you wonder why your kids love these little things so much, again I will refer you to the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.

Processed food creators know that any food that has the magic combo of salt, sugar, and fat is irresistible to our brains.  This combo and especially sugar lights up the same places in the brain that are lit up by herion and cocaine. Would you give your kids either of those?  I didn’t think so, and this is a whole different blog in and of itself also.    Just say no to these processed boxed foods for your kids’ sake.

The second one that you should really avoid is the ever popular juice box.  I don’t care if it is organic, no sugar added, all natural, or 100% artificial, it is all pure sugar and your kids don’t need it, nor do the poor underpaid teachers who have to deal with your cranky sugared-up kids all day. 20110929juiceboxprimaryuSend them with water, naturally flavored water.  Teas sweetened with Stevia and things like that.  Plain milk is always good and not the chocolate sugary kind.  Try and send something that is not loaded with sugar.  Use the water enhancement drops with water and create fruit punch that has no sugar.  There are so many options that will not be harmful to your child’s health out there these days.  Plain bottled water is always the best, or a thermos of plain water.  Remember these kids are not born craving this junk from birth, we make them this way via social engineering and exposure to media and our not so great choices.  But I am not blaming parents for the bad choices. There are so many advertisements and ads calling their products all-natural and organic and gluten free that many parents THINK they are doing a great job.  But I am here to educate you and once you know better, you do better.

There are some better choices for the lunch-boxes. Let’s first look at some awesome bread options. If ever Joseph’s Bakery goes out of business, I think I will cry! flax_lavash_02They have a line of low carb pitas, flatbreads and lavash breads that we literally use every day in our home.  They are very inexpensive and can be purchased at most major grocers.  If yours does not carry them, ask them to start! You can also order them online here.  They are so incredibly versatile.  Kids love pinwheels and pitas.  ‘Turkey-Shoot-with-Cheesy-Twists_-LavashSo use these to make healthy lunches that are not loaded with sugar and carbs hat will leave them sluggish in the afternoon.  Fiber and protein will keep them full longer and also keep their blood sugar levels more balanced which means better concentration and more energy.  Oh and these lavash breads make amazing thin crust pizzas!  The options are literally endless and you can get 2-3 wraps per slice of lavash bread.

Instead of a lunchable, try one of these Lavash wraps.  Let your child choose fresh fruit at the supermarket and add that.  Raw veggies like cherry tomatoes and carrots and broccoli served with hummus or ranch dip are always fun as are slices of cheese and fruit. Remember to use real fruit, not the fruit cups that are packaged and processed. Use real cheese and not the processed American slices or the Velveeta type cheese foods.  It is quick and easy to make your own versions of the Lunchable type meal with real food.

Snack Time

Throw in a handful of mixed nuts like almonds and cashews and walnuts and you have an amazing lunch that is packed with nutrients and not packed with chemicals and added sugars.  Kids love textures and finger foods which is part of the draw to the Lunchables.  Creating the same thing in a healthy way at home does not take much time at all.  Boiled eggs are always a great go to as are pickles and olives and chickpeas.   Take the time to introduce your kids to real food and find out what their favorites are and then making healthy lunches will not seem like such an overwhelming task!

Just remember to keep it real and keep it low in sugar and low in processing and you will be fine!  I am always happy to answer any questions about kids and nutrition!  Have a great year!

In Health!

Erin

Are we “once a year’ing” ourselves into metabolic destruction?

I hear so many times a week “Oh Erin you and Ben are just so fanatical about sugar and eating right and obesity and exercise and Plexus.”

Yes, we are.  We surely are.  Why?  Well it is no secret we both used to live extremely unhealthy lives.  I was always obese and then morbidly obese before my gastric bypass about 7  years ago.

Ben had high cholesterol DANGEROUSLY high- and ate the typical unhealthy southern diet of fried everything and biscuits and gravy and hit the drive thru pretty often with his line of work which included travel. He ate lots of processed boxed frozen garbage for most of his adult life as well- until he finally followed his love of cooking and turned it into a side business catering in the medical field. Even then, when he began cooking more often, it was typical unhealthy, but tasty fare.

I fed my kids frozen fish sticks and we frequented fast food joints and I cooked things like boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper when I was a single mom.  I bought the snack cakes and Little Debbies and all of the typical junk we are feeding our kids.  They were chubby.  All three of them.  Cute and chubby. And sugared up most of the time. From added sugar in boxed foods, to juices and cookies and cakes and ice cream, they had it all.  And mom looked like this:   And was totally unhealthy.  I was a heart attack or stroke just waiting to happen.  It was bad.  REALLY bad.

Then my dad who was in pretty good shape, had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass.  It was enough for me to say NO MORE and my new healthier life was born which also brought a love for fitness and nutrition.  Life changed FOREVER.  It was little by little and not overnight.  It came from educating myself and deciding NOT to be a statistic anymore but to truly change my life for good.

So a lot changed in my house over the years.  We do not buy cookies and snack cakes and soda and junk.  For us moderation really is moderation in that I can count on one hand the times sugar, specifically added sugar, not sugar from nature in fruits and veggies and dairy- enters my house in a year.

Think about the way we fill our kids with sugar like this:  Do we give our kids alcohol or cigarettes?  Sugar kills more people through metabolic disease than both of those but we still have commercials for sugar filled food and drinks BLASTED at our kids.  Fast food restaurants give toys with meals and have playgrounds inside.  The food industry is smart although I truly do not know how they sleep at night.

To me, feeding our kids loads of sugar is child abuse.   PERIOD.  And yes I used to abuse my kids with sugar.  Morbidly obese kids who are eating garbage daily and have no other rare medical issue causing obesity are being abused.  Can kids drive themselves to the grocery store or the fast food joint?  Does a child have the ability to buy the ice cream and candy and cakes and trash we feed them?  NOPE. Why is it okay to poison or kids from birth with the most addictive and abused drug on the market?  We think it is okay and are brainwashed into thinking there is nothing wrong with “just a little bit”- or “it is just once a year.”

The bottom line is we are excusing ourselves into the destruction of our  health. You can literally walk into any grocery store at ANY time of year and find a bakery and candy aisle stocked with sugary junk for some event that we excuse away by saying it is “just once a year.”

BUT- is it REALLY?

January- the Valentine’s Day stuff is out and in certain areas you will start to see King Cakes and Mardi Gras candy and junk.

February- Valentine’s Day junk and usually Easter junk already out for the taking.

March- Easter junk everywhere.  Then comes all of the green junk for St. Patrick’s Day.

April- usually more Easter junk still there depending on when Easter falls.  Mother’s Day junk is starting to show up also.

May- Mother’s Day junk because special candy and cookies and cake are just what we need to tell mom we love her!! Oh and now we have the end of the year parties and festivals and fairs.  But its just once a year right?

June- Father’s Day junk and fun summer junk!!!  TONS of summer sweets and treats and many are frozen. And they fool us by calling these sugar bombs organic and all natural.  Yep sugar is natural, but its still refined and processed unless you are eating a whole piece of fruit or a veggie.

July- July Fourth Holiday and now comes the patriotic junk.  HOW could we possibly celebrate all we love about America without candy and cakes and pies and cookies???

August- BACK TO SCHOOL JUNK!!!  Our kids cannot return without mini bags of every type of junk known to man!  Goldfish, cheese-its, fruit roll ups, granola bars, fruit snacks, juice pouches, cookies and EVERYTHING MINI.  Just what we need for a successful year of school- SUGAR AND EMPTY CARBS!

September- Halloween junk is here!!!!  No explanation needed!!!

October- This is where it gets almost “frenzy-like” because we have Halloween junk, fall/Thanksgiving junk, and already Christmas junk all together!!!

November- Thanksgiving and Christmas junk

December- Christmas junk and usually Valentine’s Day junk and in the south Mardi Gras junk.

AND THE CYCLE REPEATS!!!

Now throw into the mix the trips for ice cream as a reward for something, the once in a while donut or candy store visit, the birthday cake, and if you have kids the endless birthday parties with said cake that they attend, the post sporting event treats from the team mom, the school parties with treats, and more.

So is the sugar frenzy REALLY “just once a year?”

And now the food industry has fooled most parents and well-meaning people again with LOW fat cookies and 100 calorie packs of cookies and BAKED chips.  Oh and please do not get me started on the organic fruit juices and juice boxes and applesauces etc.  Or the whole grain and gluten free breads which turn to pure sugar.  Most people do not know better.  Guess what?  Low fat means double sugar.  The calorie difference and sugar difference in baked/regular chips is almost NONE.

Look at my drug of choice- Doritos- yes I could have eaten a whole bag.

When the low fat and fat free craze began of course the food industry had a plan.  They just replaced the fat with sugar.  Why do you think obesity has grown and grown just as hard and strong while we have more gyms and more fitness equipment etc than we had 30 years ago? Because we as a society fell for the flawed theory- now disproven thanks to the hidden documents being uncovered, that fat was the enemy.  If you have not seen the documentary Sugar Coated- You need to watch now!!!  Here is their Facebook page.

If fat were really the issue we would not have the heart disease, diabetes and obesity we have now.  We see BAKED and think it is great for us!  The baked Doritos above are actually even worse and higher in carbs which is same as sugar than the regular.  The food industry is NOT our friend.

When we speak to groups about the dangers of sugar and how incredibly harmful it is to us and to our health, we get a wonderful reply and reaction.  When you are in person and have an hour to explain it all, people GET IT. However online, reading posts here-sometimes I swear I can see the eye-rolls through Facebook.  I used to let it bother me, but now I just keep on preaching, with Ben, because for every person we touch, the one or two who roll their eyes or who un-friend us on Facebook really do NOT matter.

Here is a FACT- WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES with sugar in this country.  And now all over the world.  This means sugar- added sugar- in ALL FORMS.  I do not care if you call it high fructose corn syrup, sugar in the raw, brown sugar, whatever, SUGAR IS SUGAR.  It is added to over 80% of the processed grocery store items we buy.

Here is another fact- empty carbohydrates like bread and rice and pasta and cereals (with the exception of a FEW high fiber ones) ALL TURN TO SUGAR in our bodies.  Newsflash- this “whole grain” craze may as well be called the “another name for sugar” craze.  We eat far too much of this stuff.  I am not talking to the elite athletes who run 30 miles a week and need extra carbs.

This is about the average American.  This is for anyone overweight and or struggling to lose weight.  Empty carbs are the same thing as sugar metabolically.  I love a line from the movie Fed Up and is you have not seen it you really need to watch it ASAP.  One doctor says “You can eat a bowl of cornflakes with no sugar or a bowl of sugar with no cornflakes and it is the exact same thing from the neck down.”

PROCESSED EMPTY CARBS MAKE US HUNGRY AND WANT TO EAT MORE AND RAISE OUR BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS JUST LIKE PLAIN SUGAR.  Those Cheerios with no added sugar you thought were a good choice?  NOT.

I AM ESPECIALLY TALKING TO PEOPLE WITH KIDS.  We start our kids on sugar almost from day one.  Many baby formulas- especially those for kids with a lactose intolerance- have added sugar.  Seriously???

We have got to start looking at sugar as the poison it is and THINK about what we are doing to ourselves and our kids.  The number of people on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease is insane and through the roof.  NOT ONE PERSON who reads this will be able to say to me they do not know someone on a med for either high blood pressure or diabetes.

Have you seen a photo of the way sugar lights up the brain?  It is just like cocaine. And in lab tests, rats prefer sugar water to heroin.  Pretty scary huh? It is highly addictive and destructive and is the root of all of our obesity issues.

God gave us one body and we are instructed to treat the body as a temple, but many of us treat ours like a garbage dump. Today is the perfect ay to make a change!

.  1-corinthians-10-31-web

XOXO

Erin