Monday, December 24, 2012

Pomegranate Power!

Looking for a healthy "movie snack"?


This fruit is perfect for slowly nibbling away on something sweet while you watch your favorite show, movie, or one of the recommendations that I will be suggesting soon!  It takes me a good hour to sit and take my time eating a whole pomegranate!  If you want to get this fruit fast read below.

Have you ever heard that you actually burn calories eating celery (as in more than you're eating)?  I AM CERTAIN that must be the case for pomegranate!

Top 5 Reasons this fruit is Powerful!

#1 Dr Roizen says: Heart health -- improving good cholesterol (HDL), and reducing BLOOD PRESSURE and triglycerides!

#2 Dr Dean Ornish says: Cancer PREVENTION -- particularly prostate cancer, by reducing damage to DNA.  Others also note inhibition of leukemia, breast, and colon cancer.

#3 UCLA says: SKIN health -- increases effectiveness of sunscreen in humans AND inhibits skin cancer in mice!

#4 Dr Mark Liponis says: Help you lose BELLY fat!

#5 Dr Joel Fuhrman says: it can help treat and prevent DIABETES, erectile dysfunction, INFECTIONS, and ANTIBIOTIC resistance through antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.  He also notes potential to decrease depression AND build BONE mass.


  • It's messy!  
  • Each red, corn-kernel-like piece is called an anril.  
  • Cut the fruit open and pick anrils out one at a time; there are sections within the fruit.  Separate the red and white pieces and white paper-like sectional dividers.  
  • Eat each anril entirely, including the small, crunchy seed in the center.  
  • The whole fruit lasts up to two weeks at room temperature.  
  • You can extend shelf life by refrigerating (as with avocados!); plus, it TASTES great cold!

Get it FAST: Costco sells a great frozen bag of mixed berries which includes pomegranate anrils!  Trader Joe's also sells them all prepared in a bag in the fresh fruit section!  Trader Joe's has so many awesome things!

COMING SOON: movie recommendations

COMMENTS: What have YOU been up to for the last few weeks?  My brother was in intensive care, after a bicycle accident (without a helmet), and is finally on the mend, thank heavens!  Please wear a helmet when you ride a bicycle!

Friday, December 7, 2012

4 Terrific Tools for Picky Eaters

Here are some tools to help kids become more open to new foods!

1. Copy Kids dvd (on sale until Dec 9 #4 stocking stuffer)

So cool!  Your kids just watch other happy kids enjoying fresh fruits and veggies, such as broccoli!

2. Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hobermann

So cute!  A tale that culminates in seven picky kids all preparing, eating, and loving a new food, reducing their mom's hard work in the kitchen by hours and hours!

3. Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider

So funny!  Various separate stories, each convincing a questioning eater to try something like broccoli, for example, instead of alternatives like smelly, sweaty socks!
There is also an audio for this one...great for the car!

4. Fast FoodHow Are You Peeling?, Dog Food, One Lonely Sea Horse, Baby Food, Gus and Button, and Food for Thought, all by Saxton Freymann (astounding artist!)

So creative!  Every face, animal, truck, and skateboard is made amazingly, completely out of fruits and veggies!  Awesome tool for introducing new fruits and veggies, as well as helping kids to become more familiar with foods they don't see all the time!

Broccoli gets such a bad wrap!  AND it's one of the most amazing and widely available veggies around!  If these books and videos don't work, or if they do!, hopefully something here will also help your kids to eat their "trees"!

COMMENTS: Do you have any books or movies that help you get your kids to eat?  PLEASE SHARE!!  Green eggs, anyone?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Delightful Dessert-y Snack

Sharing a savory snack!

It reminds me of a childhood treat of the extra pie crust around from the edges baked with cinnamon sprinkled over it!  Only, of course, this version is much healthier!

Chop, smash, or leave whole, 1-2 cups pecans.
Spread evenly over rimmed baking sheet.
Bake at 400 (convection) or 425 (conventional) for 10 min.
Let cool (be sure to taste some warm and toasty!) and pour into storage container.
Sprinkle nuts generously with cinnamon (around a Tbsp) and stir, or just close lid and shake.
Slice a banana and sprinkle as much of mixture on top, and enjoy!

Extra stays nicely for a few days, though it doesn't have much chance to sit around long before being gobbled up by me!...really good all by itself!

It's so healthy and simple! And YUM!  I adore those toasted pecans!  They're delicious with BRUSSELS sprouts!

Read here for the benefits of HEALTHY FATS, AND NUTS in particular!

COMMENTS: are you one to prepare for the holidays early, or wait until the last minute?  Or star early and still have things left to do at the end, like me!?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lucky 7 Sipping Suggestions!

The previous post warned of the dangers of added sugars in fruit drinks and pop, with the SOLUTION of drinking 100% fruit juice.

Many readers do this already!

Whole fruit instead of juice = 
Fewer calories, MORE fiber, and usually more nutrients :)

Read on to REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF JUICE you consume:)

#1 ADD WATER or carbonated water to juice (soda water, club soda, sparkling, SELTZER, or "fuzzy" water as my 4 year-old calls it!), 50% is good for most kids and adults, but you be the judge.  For 2-3 year-olds, just use a small fraction of juice for a bit of flavor.  For some older kids, teens, and adults, perhaps only add a small portion of water at first, to adapt to the milder taste.

BONUS TIP: TART CHERRIES* are rich in MELATONIN.   In one study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, consuming (1 oz of concentrate with 7 oz water) 90 minutes before bed resulted in an average of 30 bonus min of sleep per night!  *MONTMORENCY variety have the most melatonin of tart cherry varieties.

#2 Herbal and fruit TEAS, hot or cold, can be very flavorful!  With zero calories or sweeteners!

#3 Juice can also be combined with milk (ideally, non-fat, organic) or KEFIR (yogurt-like drink with TONS of probiotics!); either combination tastes like a traditional SMOOTHIE!  Orange juice is a great juice to begin with and then you can experiment!  It's especially great for post-workout replenishing!

#4 REAL CITRUS packets!  Check them out in previous post!  Plus, add some CHIA and you've got Chia Fresca!

These silly straws help any little taster to be more open to a new drink!

#5 Try flavoring a PITCHER of water with some fresh fruit -- raspberries, citrus fruits, apples, cucumber (yes, yes, it's a veggie, still tastes so nice :), cherries, kiwi, peaches, mango, passion fruit (Y-U-M! ...though I've NEVER had it around here)!...what would you add?

#6 Fruit AND vegetable juice -- this takes down the (natural) sugar and calorie count AND increases the nutrients!  Fruitables!  Costco sells them :) and there are also other single serving fruit/veggie drinks from Costco! (Naked and V8 Fusion)

Available at Costco!

#7 Of course there is the option of MAKING YOUR OWN drink for a super fiber-punch, nutrient-punch, and TASTE-bang! -- whatever fruits you like, some spinach or kale, and blend!  Plus, there is always Dr Oz's Tangy Green Drink!

COMMENTS: Did you drink Kool-Aid as a kid?  What was your favorite flavor?  I can still picture the  cups of sugar just being poured into pitcher after pitcher!  Who knew it would cause so much damage in our bodies!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fruit Drinks -- Those Sneaky Companies!

FRUIT DRINKS are only required by the FDA to contain a drop of juice, so many only contain 0-10% juice!

FRUIT DRINKS sometimes have even more sugar than soda!

This image is from Discovery Channel's website

SUGAR DRINKS, many of which are FRUIT DRINKS, are the top source of ADDED SUGAR for Americans, and the greatest source of calories in teens!

Can you believe Americans consume on average 9 bags of ADDED sugar (45 lb) per year?

Kids who drink an 8-oz sugar drink per day increase their odds of becoming obese by 60%! Regarding adults, sugar negatively affects all of our bodies, from suppressing IMMUNE function, to increasing INSULIN RESISTANCE, to contributing to HEART disease, DEMENTIA, macular degeneration, and of course tooth decay! (

Curious about what you'll have to do to burn off a can of Coke (or about any 12-oz sugar drink)? Is 70 minutes of ironing worth the sugar/caffeine buzz you're going for? Check out Cocoa-Cola's activity calculator below!

Work It Out Calculator

Plus, here is a cool "infographic" about sugar drinks!

Awesome visual is from Discovery!


Choose 100% fruit juice!
(clearly displayed on the FOOD LABEL)

If you normally drink 100% juice, super!  
It contains NO ADDED SUGAR and a variety of nutrients!

Whole fruit is better still -- containing fewer calories, more nutrients, and most importantly, FIBER!
SO for you 100% juice drinkers out there (many I'm sure!), here is a post providing tips for reducing the amount of juice you drink!


Much of the above information came from the research and initiative of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.  You can check out the following below for more information.

How Much Sugar Do You Eat?  You May Be Surprised! (from New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Get Your Citrus Burst!

True Lime and True Lemon are amazing!

I am loving it!

My hubby actually found it for me on and as he suspected...
I love the ingredients list!
So it's helping me drink more water!

Just add a packet to some water for a refreshing drink!

And for a few more days (Octobasale!), there's a great deal!

These tiny packets are packed with FLAVOR!  
Each packet = basically just a fresh fruit wedge that's been crystallized.
It's a powder made from citrus oils and juices!

The possibilities are endless!
Mojitos, rice, salsa, tea, burritos, Popsicles, avocado, tortilla soup!

This looks like another cool option -- sweetened with the natural sweetener STEVIA!

True Orange will be arriving at my house any day!

And there is a super SALE going on for the next few days!!  Check it out HERE!

BONUS TIP: Stevia is a natural alternative to regular (sugar) or artificial sweeteners.  However, it is labeled as a DIETARY SUPPLEMENT and is therefore unregulated.  SO, if you ever buy/eat STEVIA, on it's own or in another product (such as the raspberry drink above), make sure it is NOT the EXTRACT, and that there aren't lots of other ingredients listed in the product.  You can GROW IT in your backyard for a super-SAFE option!

COMMENTS: How would you use your True Citrus products?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn Harvest Salad


Autumn Harvest Salad
1 can garbanzo beans
1 c plain non-dairy yogurt CLICK here for Benefits!
1/2 c fresh cranberries (or you can try dried cranberries)
1 apple, chopped
pepper, cinnamon

Great on its own, whole wheat toast, or a roll-up of flat bread (Flatout) or a tortilla!

COMING SOON: Benefits of cranberries!, Pumpkin Bread Dip, and Berry Kale Popsicles

COMMENTS: The leaves are just gorgeous this year! What are your favorite fall foods and activities? Have you jumped in any leaf piles yet this year?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Might Never Cook Kale Again!

My sister-in-law shared some amazing Pine Nut Kale Salad with me the night before I ran a half marathon over the weekend!  I was thrilled to have some delicious, healthy food to eat besides the take-out pizza we also ate!  She also made some fabulous hummus AND a savory black rice dish!  Lucky me!

By the way, Kale is super healthy -- check it out!

I loved the Pine Nut Kale Salad so much that my mouth was watering for it until I made it again at home the next day!

Pine Nut and Kale Salad

a bunch of kale (stems removed)
lemon juice
~1/2 c pine nuts

Combine everything, and let sit as long as you can stand, and enjoy! NO COOKING! When I made it at home, I couldn't resist having a hefty serving right away. However, I did save a tiny bit for later, and leftovers the next day tasted even better! The greens and nuts beautifully soak up all that delicious Italian flavor!

In other Kale News, Kale Chips from Trader Joe's are super! (other yummy TJ's items!)

Note the AWESOME ingredients list!, and high fiber and protein content!

I almost never pay any attention to calories, instead making healthy choices, so calories aren't important.However, I thought I'd provide a quick word of caution that they are a bit steep in calories and fat.

The fat is GOOD fat, and the calories are GOOD calories, but if you're "watching" you might try making kale chips at home, so they can even be super low-calorie!  I haven't perfected the kale chip making process, but it's pretty easy if your up for it!

Don't worry too much -- the fiber and protein should make you full before you've eaten too many!

COMMENTS: How do you like your kale?  Any fun recipes for healthy greens?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet Treats

What do these SWEET TREATS have in common?

1. Fabulous FIBER!
2. NO sugar OR artificial sweeteners!
3. Kids love them!  Unique, fun packaging (squeeze pouches, copy-cat Fruit by the Foot)

 Clevelanders, everything above was purchased at Marc's!

  • DOLE Red Grapefruit Sunrise cups are my favorite! -- Quite TART just like fresh grapefruit!
  • Liberty Gold Peaches -- in pear juice
  • Rowland Mandarins -- in water
    (you can divide canned items into smaller servings in separate containers).
  • MOTT'S Medleys even have a bunch of veggies in the ingredients:  carrot, cucumber, green pepper, and vegetable juice!
  • Almost any apple sauce!  Just make sure there isn't any SUGAR -- why do they sneak it in?? 

Just through these in -- frozen orange pieces are SO REFRESHING! (gotta love frozen fruit!)

These apple slices from Vacaville Fruit Company are available at Costco!
SO crisp, nothing ADDED!
Over 7 lb Granny Smiths for $10!

Above from Target -- kids love these squeezers!
Many flavors: strawberry, berry, apple, mango!
Mango GOGO SQUEEZ are my favorite!
Berry Sponge Bob and Apple Gogo Squeez available at Costco!

FRUITABU is a sort of fruit leather in "Fruit by the Foot" form!
Purchased from amazon!
Save with "Subscribe and Save"!

Delicious Dried Mango
 Freeze Dried Raspberries (in this post)

Freeze Dried Strawberries (in this post)

Fruit Leather and Dried Apricots (in this post)

You might also like: Eat for Energy!
OR Fun Fruits! from Convenient Costco!

COMING SOON: fruit juice / beverage post!

Feel free to SHARE your favorite SUGAR/ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER-free sweets?

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Laraballs

These Laraballs are ADDICTING!

Only 2 or 3 ingredients and completely satisfying!


LARABALLS: Always Healthy, Gluten-Free, Fast!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough

1 1/4 c walnuts
3/4 c raisins
Other add-ins: cinnamon, or rolled oats (for a lower-calorie treat)

Blend in a food processor until a dough forms, and  enjoy!

You can eat it by the spoonful, 
or transfer the mixture into a plastic bag and make balls from the outside of the bag, 
or use candy molds and freeze like shown below. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough

Fresh-You RECIPES are so EASY, they can be written up (and made) by kiddos, especially Laraballs!  Click here for more flavors!  This afternoon, my daughter decided to make a "book of food" when included nearly twenty recipes/pages that she could make!  Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Laraballs made the cut (though the words didn't come out boldly enough to see in the pics below)!

When kids help decide about what to make and help make foods, 
they have big appetites for what is on the menu!

COMMENTS: Do you have certain foods that you eat when you are in a "healthy mode/phase"?  In my house, if there is a bag of Laraballs prepared/handy, everyone is less hungry, cranky all day long, and eating less junk!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yoga Benefits for All AND Cosmic Kids Yoga!

If you want to calm down, relax, AND have fun with your child, try Cosmic Kids Yoga!

Yoga for children should be quick moving and fun!  In Cosmic Kids Yoga, Jaime pleasantly takes kids on vivid adventures and her background is vibrant and dreamy!

Like adults, kids get lots of health benefits from practicing yoga, and more interestingly, we can all experience these TOP 5 BENEFITS of YOGA!

1) Feeling HAPPIER, and more CONTENT after yoga!

2) "Even beginners feel LESS stressed and more RELAXED after their first class." -- WedMD
" can help counter the stresses experienced by young people living in a hurry-up world." -- Yoga Journal


4) Accepting yourself!

5) More energy!

Bonus Benefits: strength, flexibility, balance, posture, coordination, body awareness, breathing, and heart health!

GO ahead and give Cosmic Kids Yoga a try!  
You just may have a more peaceful time with your kiddos!

You might also enjoy these posts related to relaxation: Mindfulness Mad Easy (this post mentions some books, especially a children's book, all about peace and relaxation) and Meditation Simplified

COMMENTS: Do you practice yoga?  What benefits do you find most helpful?  Think your kids would like to try?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Slushy Spritz Spheres!

The only thing that keeps this from being the perfect snack is the delay to freeze them!

Simply wash grapes, remove from stems, and freeze!

Silly name, but these little bites deserve some attention!

They are so fun to nibble at, suck on, and enjoy!

They slow down how fast you eat a bunch of grapes,
and if you're looking for a sweet frozen treat, they are sugar-free and nearly effort-free!

Freeze some tonight, and enjoy in the morning!

Other yummy frozen fruits: frozen banana slices, frozen orange slices (these taste like slushies too!), and I'm sure you've enjoyed your share of frozen berries!
Can't forget Trader Joe's frozen mango chunks and pineapple tidbits (click here to see the difference between processed pineapple options) :)
Click here to see my other favorites at Trader Joe's!

COMMENTS: What fruits/foods do you freeze for fun?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trader Joe's Treasures!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Trader Joe's! 

THESE are my favorites!

1. FROZEN produce

Fruit!  MANGO, pineapple, berries, ...

Frozen veggies! ARTICHOKES, shelled edamame beans (so convenient!), mixed peppers

PS: once I bought their delicious edamame hummus! was kind of expensive for the quantity, but truly tasty! (not frozen or on the top 8 list, but something to try!)

2. Indian SIMMERING sauces in a jar, and boxed Indian dishes!

3. Freeze dried raspberries! These are SO FLAVORFUL! Check it out: you can eat this whole, big bag for only 130 calories and 11 grams of fiber! I don't think I could ever eat this whole bag at once :~ Plus, NO other ingredients necessary to preserve the fruit!

4. Roasted, unsweetened PEANUTS are our favorite!, there's a large variety of nuts, all at a great value!

5.  L
ots of healthy healthy bread choices! Whole wheat tortillas, Food for Life Ezekiel bread (sesame seed and cinnamon raisin), and pitas too - note: smaller size is cheaper than larger.

Larabars -- if you've ever stopped by FRESH-YOU, you know how much I love these -- may be the perfect snack! I even make them at home!

7.  Chocolate covered espresso beans, dark chocolate covered edamame beans, and single serving dark chocolate bars (each of these treats have some sugar, but are still better than other options!)

8. Fresh fruits and veggies -- when anything is on sale, the prices are pretty good! And also dried fruits, like mango, yum! Make sure there isn't added SUGAR.

9. Tempeh for sure, and for times when you're stuck in a jam: meatless meatballs and falafel in frozen section.

If you must use something like "butter", PLEASE USE SPARINGLY! Earth Balance buttery spread is a non-animal, non-hydrogenated spread, so it's an alternative to butter or any other "margarine" on the market. TJ's price is the best. If you know of something better, please share what you enjoy :) Avocado, hummus, and nut butters are my favorites!

Bonus! Flowers!, even potted basil! there is also impressive in value and quality!

So, I love Trader Joe's. I love the value. I love the friendly atmosphere.  I love that the ingredients lists don't require magnifying glasses!

There are many other Trader Joe's products that would also likely be staples if it were not for my neighborhood Costco! Still, I am always sure to be stocked up on my list!

So does Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food -- here are her favs! (there are a few animal foods there - I don't recommend those!)

COMMENTS? What are your favorite healthy foods from Trader Joe's?!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scandalous Supplements -- What you NEED to know!

This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT messages I want to share with everyone I can!

WHAT are dietary supplements?

ANYTHING that isn't considered a FOOD or a DRUG! This includes a surprising number of in-between items such as protein powders, energy drinks, certain oils (like flaxseed oil), and of course vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies.

WHY is this important?

In 1994, the FDA's responsibility to regulate dietary supplements was TAKEN AWAY with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

This law still stands. So, the FDA (or any governmental agency or law) does NOT exert any control over the manufacture of supplements as long as they make no claims about preventing, treating, or curing any disease. There is NO FDA approval system!

A manufacturer does NOT need to PROVE a dietary supplement is SAFE or EFFECTIVE before marketing it!

WHO can make and sell supplements?

Any company may promote its supplement as helping any human process to work normally -- "Supports a healthy brain!"

Be entertained and ASTONISHED with this clip from the movie Bigger, Stronger, Faster ...see how to make your own supplement company :)

HOW did the sales of dietary supplements change since DSHEA of 1994?

Look how it SKYROCKETED!

Trends in Global Nutrition Industry since 1994


Here is another alarming trend that the following visual communicates well! These bars represent 1000s of reports of adverse reactions to dietary supplements*. Until 2006, companies weren't even required to report complaints about (even deaths from!) their products!  Earlier this year (2012), the FDA found that up to 70% of companies STILL aren't reporting problems customers have had with their supplements the way they should be, even after they've received warning letters! (Wikipedia and FDA's conclusions from many laboratory inspections)

*I was unable to obtain such data after 2000.

Adverse Reactions to Dietary Supplements from
National Poison Control Centers and  FDA, 1994-2000
WHAT about EFFECTIVENESS of a dietary supplement?

Not a lot to say here, but there is an important answer. A manufacturer does NOT EVER need to PROVE a dietary supplement is EFFECTIVE at doing what it claims!


Buy US Pharmacopeia (USP) Verified Supplements! (USP Supplements)

Look for this seal on Dietary Supplement Labels!

USP is a nearly 200-year-old, scientific, nonprofit organization that sets standards to ensure quality, strength, safety, purity, and potency of dietary supplements in order to PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH WORLDWIDE! It's been around since before the FDA! It's made up of a team of more than 800 VOLUNTEER experts!

WHAT about cost?

DO NOT trust the PRICE as a measure/predictor of safety or effectiveness of a product!

USP-labeled supplements are generally less expensive than non-approved supplements, so choosing USP is a win/win situation for your health AND your pocket book!

Costco Members: Costco sells lots of USP supplements, and for a much better value than anywhere I have found -- hooray!!

Consumerl Lab is a website/company whose mission is to identify the best quality health and nutritional products through independent testing. It tests many, many different supplement brands for similiar characteristics as described above for USP. You must pay for an annual membership.

Big name brands are generally safer -- it is harder for complications, complaints, etc to slip through the cracks with such mass production.
Avoid buying anything labeled as a dietary supplement at small, health food stores, or especially ONLINE!


  • If a product is labeled as a dietary supplement, TAKE CAUTION!
  • IMPURITY and CONTAMINATION in supplements are major risks!
  • You want to know that what is in the bottle is SAFE and also includes NO MORE or LESS than what is stated on the bottle!
  • Supplements boasting to help with a particular condition are a) BREAKING the law, and b) may be including in their product an unlisted prescription DRUG, or other contaminants, such as lead or mercury.
  • READ the scientific research regarding effectiveness of a dietary supplement, apart from what you find on a label or on a company's website.

Reliable Resources for Dietary Supplements

Wikipedia's Notes on Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)

FDA 101: Dietary Supplements

NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements -- they have a section with Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets

NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine -- they have a section called Using Dietary Supplements Wisely

COMING SOON: which supplements (B12, etc.) and which brands do we use in my home, as well as how often/much, AND RELIABLE sources of health and nutrition information (and where NOT to look for info!)


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