Tuesday, April 28, 2009

5 Super Foods that you need to know about!

We all know the importance of "eating the rainbow" - incorporating foods of all colors into our diets to ensure we have the proper nutrients in our bodies to keep us going.  But there are some foods in this world that are so nutritionally packed they have been deemed "super foods".  While there are several articles that talk of these foods, many differ in what they have to say.  I have found, however, that five foods in particular almost always make the cut.  These, I have chosen to share with you all.  I encourage each of you to incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis!

1) Spinach.  Yes, Popeye's favorite green, hated by almost all children (unless you're my wonderful bonus-daughter, Christin.  We believe her to be born without tastebuds.)  In fact, many adults have never eaten this wonder-food because of the nastiness they were served from tin cans as children.  But do not dispair, my friends, because there is light at the end of the tunnel!  If you haven't already, pick up a bag of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach.  Put it in your next salad.  Better than iceberg, I tell you.  My favorite spinach salad is baby spinach mixed with strawberries and topped with a light balsamic vinaigrette.  Add some chicken on top and YUM!!  (feel free to email me for said recipe . . .)
Not only delicious, but this green packs a power punch - Beta Keratin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and every B vitamin under the sun.  Not to mention Iron, protein, and a slew of antioxidants.  And if you STILL don't like spinach, don't fret, there are more greens with all these wonderful goodies nestled in their leafiness:  Kale, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and arugula.

2) Blueberries.  Once thought to be only a muffin or pie componant, blueberries have turned out to be one of the most powerful foods on the planet.  While we were once lucky to find this gem only in the frozen fruit aisle (unless you happened to live in main . . .), we are now (thank you cultivation science) able to find fresh bluberries year round in the supermarket.  Toss them into a batch of bran muffins, if you absolutly must, but they are equally scrumptious sprinkled on top of some oatmeal or, better yet, added to that spinach and strawberry salad I just talked about.  Better yet, grab a handful out of the fridge and munch away!  Chock full of fiber and vitamin C, these little blue gems will satisfy you on the whole. 

3)  Garlic.  If you eat too much, you run the risk of smelling like a pizza, but no matter, this stuff is so good for you (not to mention tasty), you just won't care.  It has just about every mineral under the sun in it, including Pyridoxine (B-6 to us) - one of the world's most powerful heart-healthy antioxidents.  Of course, you can go the timid route with it and include it in your spaghetti sauce or stir fry, but why not grate some raw on your next salad?  Or roast an entire head, smash it up, and spread the lot of it on a pita bread.  Sprinkle a little kosher salt on top and viola!  Instant power-snack!

4) Tomatoes.  Almost everyone will eat a tomato in one form or another.  Don't like them raw?  Try a good marinara sauce or salsa.  No?  How about ketchup?  This superfood is packed with lycopene - proven to slow the growth of specific types of cancer (namely prostate cancer), so load up on your burgers and fries (turkey and baked, of course) and pile on the red stuff.  Incedentally, the longer you cook tomatoes and the more concentrated they get, the more lycopene you have, so if you don't like them raw, cook away!  

5) And finally, Whole Grains.  We all know we need more fiber in our diets, right?  Right??  Okay, just smile and nod, here.  Fiber not only helps us . . . well, you know, but it can also strengthen our hearts and our immune systems.  Not to mention the fact that the refined white stuff (bread, pasta, etc) is known to INCREASE hunger, and CAUSE higher colestoral levels AND diabetes.  Simply replacing one meal's worth of "white food" a day with a whole grain can significantly improve your health.  Don't believe me?  K, listen to this doctor about it.

So, there you have it.  My top five super foods.  I know what you're thinking, "What??  No water??"  No.  These are super FOODS.  Super BEVERAGES are for another post.   Oh, and you don't have to take my word for it, Google "super foods" and see what you get.  

Happy Eating, my friends!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

With the economy the way it is now, it's harder and harder for us to eat well. The cost of fresh fruits and veggies going up causes us to avoid buying them in favor of canned (which lose 60% of vital nutrients and fiber during the canning process) or in favor of prepared foods (which are usually high in sodium and low in fiber - not to mention the refined, processed sugars they include). Bread has gone up, milk has gone up, cheese has gone up. And if you are into buying low-fat/high-fiber and/or "diet" foods, the cost is up even more.

So what's a supermom to do?

Well, here are a few tips that will (hopefully) keep your family well-fed and save a dime or two!

On Sale? Buy in bulk! Items such as ground turkey are usually cheaper than ground beef to begin with. Chicken breasts and light meat pork items, on the other hand, are anywhere from $5-7 a package, depending on your store and area. Wait until these items go on sale, and buy 3 or 4 packages at once! Avoid buying those "bulk" packages of flash-frozen breasts or tenders. Chances are, you'll be paying close to twice the price for MAYBE one or two breasts more than the fresh packages. Also, a lot of times these items will have been brined, adding extra sodium and water (which raises the weight, and therefore the price). And if your favorite veggie goes on sale, buy it in bulk. Pre-chop it and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months until you're ready to use it!

Try making your own! Bread, pasta, pancakes, biscuits . . . you know what's going in to the batch, AND chances are you can make several batches for a fraction of the cost of one package of the prepared item. Don't know how to do it? Saving Dinner has some great recorces for just this kind of thing. Can't find anything there? Type "home made __(fill in the blank)__" into your search engine and watch the hits flow! There are thousands upon thousands of recipes for homade bread, pizza dough, pasta, rice mixes, baking mixes . . . you name it, ,it's out there! Serch You Tube or Foodnetwork.com for how-to videos too!

Try Frozen! Sometimes, frozen IS better than fresh. Berries, peaches, corn, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and peas are great examples. They're available all year round, and cheaper than fresh in most cases! And don't discount items such as stir-fry mixes, and "Normandy" mixed vegetables. For around $2-5 (depending on size of package and area) you can get a mix of veggies and fruit that would cost you close to $10 to buy fresh!

Make a budget and a list and STICK TO IT!! Research has shown that when we have a set budget along with a list to stick to, we tend to buy more wholesome foods for our dollar. For example, if a Mom goes to the store with $10, she can chose to buy prepared items or fresh items. Chances are, she'll go for the fresh items which, in most cases, cost up to 20% less than the prepared.

It's been said before but DON'T SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! When you go grocery shopping hungry, we have a tendency to buy things that we don't need, don't REALLY want, and certainly can't afford. If it's not meal time, eat a small snack like a piece of fruit or a cheese stick before hitting the aisles. It can make all the difference in your food budget!

Well, there you have it. Just a few tips that I hope will help some of you keep eating healthy without breaking the bank.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Four Pounds Lighter

I lost 4 lbs. as of Friday. I am so excited that I'm losing again. I want to fit into my bodice for Scarby!! I was so embarassed and disappointed that I didn't get to go to my Rennie group meeting in garb because it didn't fit. But, that's okay, b/c I am LOSING!! By the time we go, I hope to have lost at least 15 lbs if not more. And I'm going to work hard for it, too. Every time I want to eat something bad for me, I'm going to remind myself about that bodice. And every time I say "eww salad" I'm going to remind myself about that bodice! And every time I'm tempted by some nice . . . crispy . . . bacon . . . *shutter* - NO!! I'm going to remind myself about that bodice!!!

Wow, I have a good goal now. Not bad . . . :-)

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Healthy Pantry - FINALLY!!

FINALLY - the third - and final - installment of Supermom's Healthy Kitchen. Took me a bit to compile this list - some tweaking needed to be done additions, subtractions . . . that sort of thing. Remember, this is created with a family of 4-6 in mind. Also, if you don't like something, feel free to not have it on YOUR list - this is just a basic list.

Supermom's Healthy Pantry


Whole Wheat Flour
White Flour (used in moderation)
Reduced-Fat Baking mix (used in moderation)
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Sugar substitute made for baking (I prefer Splenda)
Cocoa Powder

Canned Goods

*NOTE* Supermom does not condone the excessive use of canned fruits and vegetables with the exception of tomatoes and beans. MOST veggies and fruits lose vital fiber and nutrients during the canning process. That being said, canned is better than NONE, so if you HAVE to eat canned, go ahead.**

Tomato sauce
Tomato paste
Stewed tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes
Black beans
Red (kidney) beans
Low-sodium chicken stock
Low-sodium beef stock
Low sodium, low fat cream soups (i.e. Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, etc)


**I buy either 100% whole wheat pasta or Barilla's "Plus" line of pastas. More fiber, nutrients, and flavor!**

Whole wheat or carb-concious pastas, both short such as shells, elbows, etc. and long such as spaghetti or fettuccini.
Brown rice - raw is best, but as it takes almost an hour to cook, I usually buy quick-cooking or "Minute" brown rice.
Whole grain, low sugar cereals (Cheerios, Chex, Grape Nuts . . . no "kiddie" cereals!)
100% whole grain breads
whole wheat crackers (Kashi and Wasa make some really tasty ones)


Pasta sauce (this is naturally low-fat, if you buy just plain marinara. But pay attention to sugar content!)
Mustard (both yellow and dijon)
Worchesterchire sauce
Liquid smoke
Louisiana hot sauce (or tobasco if you prefer)
relishes - any type you like
pickles - any type you like

Well, there you have it kids! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here!

Happy (and Healthy!!) Eating!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Healthy Fridge

This is part 2 of my "Healthy Kitchen" trilogy. This is just a basics list - you can certainly add or subtract as you see fit. These are items that I try to keep on hand at all times. Some of them, like the fresh veggies, fruits, and dairy products will probably have to be replenished once a week or more. Others you can keep on hand until they run out!

Supermom's Healthy Fridge List

- low-fat milk (whole milk for kiddos under three, if you please)
- reduced fat cheese (I find that 2% cheese is much more palatable than fat-free, and there's
really not that much of a difference)
- Eggs
- yogurt

- ham
- roasted chicken or turkey cold cuts (low-sodium 100% natural READ YOUR LABELS!!)

- lettuce
- tomato
- cucumber
- carrots
- celery

- apples
- grapes
- stone fruits (such as peaches and plums)

- low-fat mayo or salad dressing (i.e., Miracle Whip)
- ketchup
- mustard
- dill pickles (slices or spears)
- pickle relish
- Salsa
- low-fat salad dressings (we like ranch, french, balsamic vinaigrette, and Russian)
- olives
- roasted red bell peppers
- pickled vegetables

Of course, there are almost always a few leftovers, and specialty items not on the main list for specific meals (if you eat things like asparagus or Brussels sprouts daily, go ahead and add them to your list, though (-: ).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taste the Rainbow!

"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth . . . "
Gen. 9:13 (KJV)
When God said these words to Noah, He established a covenant with man that He would never again bring destruction to the entire earth by the means of water. This was also giving Mankind the responsibility to take care of itself, so to speak. When he replenished the earth with people (through Noah's family), He also replenished it with animals and vegetation. Colorful vegetation.
Those in Noah's time ate this vegetation no questions asked. They ate because God gave it to them. They really didn't have much choice. To that end, I guess it's not really fair to say that God gave them ALL that vegetation - we actually have more of a choice now than in Noah's time. But the premise still remains the same.
See, in Noah's time, they didn't have goodies like multivitamins and protein shakes. They had to get their nutrients through the food they ate. That's how God designed our bodies. That's also how God designed our food.
The Skittles people have it right - "Taste the Rainbow". But the rainbow shouldn't be in the form of artificially flavored fruity candies. Quite the contrary - the Rainbow should be God's bounty!
We can get most, if not all, of our daily vitamins by ingesting foods from every color on a daily basis!
Here is an excerpt from PERSONAL HEALTH; The Color of Nutrition: Fruits and Vegetables by Jane E. Brody of the New York Times:
Red, including tomatoes (especially cooked tomato products), pink grapefruit and watermelon, which are rich in the carotenoid lycopene, a potent scavenger of gene-damaging free radicals that seems to protect against prostate cancer as well as heart and lung disease.
Red/purple, including red and blue grapes, blueberries, strawberries, beets, eggplant, red cabbage, red peppers, plums and red apples, which are loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins believed to delay cellular aging and help the heart by blocking the formation of blood clots. Dr. Heber includes red wine in this category.
Orange, including carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, winter squash and sweet potatoes, rich in the cancer-fighter alpha carotene, along with beta carotene that protects the skin against free-radical damage and promotes repair of damaged DNA.
Orange/yellow, including oranges, peaches, papaya and nectarines, which provide beta cryptothanxin, which supports intracellular communication and may help prevent heart disease.
Yellow/green, including spinach, collards, corn, green peas, avocado and honeydew, which are sources of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These are strongly linked to a reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in developed countries.
Green, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and bok choy. These are rich in cancer-blocking chemicals like sulforaphane, isocyanate and indoles, which inhibit the action of carcinogens.
White/green, including garlic, onions, leeks, celery, asparagus, pears and green grapes. The onion family contains allicin, which has antitumor properties. Other foods in this group contain antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. Dr. Heber includes white wine in this category.
With these facts in mind, maybe it's best for us to all turn to what God has given us to consume!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Healthy Freezer

This is the first post of a trilogy - the other two are The Healthy Fridge and The Healthy Pantry. I think I am posting this for myself as much as for anyone else, honestly. To get it through my own head that these items are what I need to have on hand at all times.

So, based on my own research and a LOT of label reading, I have deduced that these items are great to keep on-hand for quick, easy, healthful meals.

So, without further ado, here's The Healthy Freezer

Supermom's Healthy Freezer List

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts/tenders (1 lb portions)
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 lb portions)
Extra Lean ground beef (93/7) (1 lb portions)
Ground turkey breast (1 lb portions)
Turkey or Low-Fat smoked sausage
Turkey or Low-Fat Italian sausage

Stir-Fry mixes

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

Frozen Puff Pastry

It's a small list, but I feel fairly easy to keep up. If anyone can think of anything else to add, feel free to comment or email me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Breaking Free from Bondage

If any of you have read Dr. Rita Hancock's book "The Eden Diet", you know all about her description of food as "bondage" keeping us from Christ. I never thought about this fully until yesterday.

I wonder about the hold food has on me.

See, I LOVE to cook - I love to make people happy with my culinary creations. I love to invent new recipes, dissect old ones, and re-create classics. I love the challenge of making something fattening and unhealthy a better choice. I collect cookbooks - it's one of my greatest hobbies. I am a food network addict - especially their reality shows. In fact, I fantasize about one day sending my audition tape in and becoming the "Next Food Network Star".

So where does that leave me? Without food, what do I have left? It has been such a huge part of my life, I have to ask, can I REALLY let go? WHAT can I immerse myself in if not food?

Then God spoke to me. He said "Why can't you immerse yourself in ME?" (See, God knows every once in a while I need a good swift kick in the butt . . . )

And I realized - he doesn't want me to GIVE UP my hobby. He just wants me to LOOSEN MY GRIP on it so that I have MORE TIME FOR HIM!

SO, this morning I changed my morning routine a little.I always have what I call "Coffee with God" where I have a cup of coffee, read the bible, and pray. This is usually a 15 minute venture.
Well, this morning, I lengthened it to 30 minutes. Just 15 minutes more. See, that extra 15? I would close my bible, open one of my coveted cookbooks and read recipes. This morning? I read more of my bible.

Then God led me to Ecclesiastes 5:10 : (KJV) He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. It took me a few minutes to realize what God was telling me. I mean, what does FOOD have to do with SILVER? Then it hit me - DUH! It was an analogy (for me) - SILVER and ABUNDANCE refers to FOOD and GLUTTONY in my life. Or, specifically - COOKING!!

The first commandment tells us - "Thou shalt have no other God's before me"
I didn't realize until this morning that all this time I have been worshipping the god of food.
Thank you Lord for new epiphanies and revelations.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Accountability . . .

You know what makes me madder than anything? When people don't hold themselves accountable for their weight issues.

"Boo-hoo . . . I have a glandular problem" says one person as they shove an extra large sized candy bar down their gullet.

"Waah, my mother and father were fat" says another while loading up on a supersized Big Mac meal from McDonald's (with the tell-tale diet coke).

"It's not my fault - my mommy made me clean my plate and only cooked deep fried pork fat" says another while eating a bag of pork rinds (in essence . . . deep fried pork fat).

Okay, folks, KNOCK IT OFF!!!


Look, I know we can't all be Kate Hudson/Cindy Crawford/Hillary Duff or whoever your personal latest "it" girl is. Quite frankly, I don't want to be. I want to be healthy. In order to do this, I have to hold myself accountable for everything I do (or don't do). If I eat that extra helping of mashed potatoes IT'S MY OWN FAULT. If I eat that entire cheesecake in one sitting IT'S MY OWN FAULT. If I chose to NOT get on that bike today IT'S MY OWN FAULT. If you can't hold yourself accountable for your actions, then you WILL NOT BE SUCCESSFUL!! Not just in weight loss, but in LIFE as well!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Reality Bites . . .

I stepped on the scale this weekend. All the weight I had lost came back - plus two pounds. It's my own fault - I know it is. I'm the dummy that stopped getting on that bike every day. I'm the idiot that put that extra helping on my plate - even though I was full. I'm the moron that walks through the grocery aisles buying JUNK instead of WHOLESOME foods to put into my and my family's bodies.

I feel like a bad person. A bad wife. A bad mom.

I am killing myself, my husband, and my children with the CRAP that I am buying.
SO I guess now the only question left is:

What am I going to do about it?

1) DAILY ACTIVITY - Even if it's only 5 minutes.
2) FRUITS AND VEGGIES - I love 'em, Ronnie loves 'em, the kids love 'em . . .
3) GRILL, BAKE, or BROIL - And only FRESH UNBREADED MEAT!! No more prepared, frozen, breaded items.
4) WHOLE GRAINS - okay, this one I do anyway, but I'm still putting it on my list

I have GOT to get this under control.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Wynonna, Why??

I recently saw a commercial that REALLY upset me. A LOT.

I am a HUGE Wynonna Judd fan. I have been ever since I was Emily's size. I love her. When i was younger I wanted to BE her. But I was really disappointed when I saw her beautiful face on a commercial for Alli - a new diet drug.

In my opinion, when you turn to diet pills and/or surgery (Editor's Note: **for those that are MORBIDLY obese, this doesn't apply to you. Just to those that only need to lose 50-70 lbs**), you are saying "I give up" or "I don't want to work for it, I just want to be thin". Regardless of how many people it has "helped" or what their "guidelines are" or even if they are approved by the FDA or not. Bottom line is this. As soon as you are OFF the pills, the weight WILL COME BACK. Your body will become accustomed to the pill, and when you come off it, it won't be able to handle things on it's own. It has been scientifically proven .

I am so sad that Wynonna has fallen into this trap.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh the mighty temptations . . .

Bacon. I love it. I can't help it, it's probably one of my favorite foods. And I'm sorry, that crap that Butterball tries to pass off as "Bacon" just doesn't cut it.

Chocoalte. Another one I can't live without. Yummm . . .

It has been three weeks without bacon. At the end of week four I'm treating myself to a giant bacon sandwich. Yum.

So what does this have to do with dieting? Aha, dear reader, I shall tell you!


This is something the diet companies don't want you to know. They want you to THINK you have to deny yourself in order to lose weight. That way, when you fail, you come right back to them to lose weight again. And again. And again.

The way I see it is this - you HAVE to allow yourself a treat every now and again. Okay, so maybe chocolate every day isn't the solution, LOL. But a bacon sandwich once a month IS. Knowing that I will be able to have that sandwich in one, two, three, or four weeks is enough to keep me going. If I save up all those months worth of "bacon points" every month, it is going to be SO worth it!!

That works on a daily basis too. I eat my egg white and turkey sausage sandwich or bowl of oatmaeal in the morning knwoing that I will be able to have those cinnemon rolls or that ham and cheese omelette on Sunday.

Now, I'm not perfect. Not by a long shot. I still screw up. Somtimes daily. But I'm learning. I'm learning that it's not about counting calories or points. It's not about consistantly denying myself over and over again. It's about eating 80% good, wholesome, healthy food on a daily basis, getting in at least 15 minutes of activity a day, and drinking at least three bottles of water a day. I don't have any idea if I've lost weight over the last couple of weeks - I haven't been on a scale. But I do know I feel better. I'm more active. I'm more awake. My back pain has diminished greatly. This, right now, is enough for me. In a couple of weeks when I'm used to all this, I'll add something more. Maybe another 15 minutes of activity or 3 bottles of water. Maybe more fruits and veggies and less meat. We'll see.

For now, I'll just fight the daily temptations that rear their ugly heads.
Darn you, chocolate!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Biggest Loser . . . (*Warning* - SPOILER)

Last night was the premier of this season. It was interesting, and heart-wrenching. I cried at the first weigh-in - simply because several of the women there were around my weight. Then, at the end, they annouced that 9 of the couples would have to send one person home. I couldnt' understand it - this was a COUPLES edition! And there were 2 teams that were exempt - the team that won the challange and the team that had the highest weight loss for the weight loss. I was so sad. They said that at the end of 30 days, the people that were still there could bring their partners back. But still, is that fair?

Something else really surprised me. The AMOUNT of weight lost by some of the contestents. Some of them were losing up to 30 lbs!! IN ONE WEEK!! Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that unhealthy to lose it that fast? I mean, I can see 10-15 lbs in the first weeks but 30! That's frightening - REALLY frightening. If I lost 30 lbs, I'd be halfway to my weight goal! Well, ALMOST. That's unreal . . . How does someone LOSE that much in ONE WEEK??? Eating 40 calories a day and working out 7 hours a day??

Sheesh . . .

Now, I am still going to watch the show, because it keeps me motivated. But I am not going to fall into the whole, "I have to lose 20 lbs this week!!" BS. My goal is 3-5 lbs a week. That I know I can do.