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!)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Challenge #1: Fresh Garlic!

Fresh-You Challenge #1: Fresh Garlic!

I am so thrilled to be helping people be healthier through this blog!

Now I am beginning a two-week CHALLENGE to encourage YOU into ACTION!

I hope you'll join me!  Leave a COMMENT if you're up for it!
I get a huge bag of fresh garlic from Costco for $4!!
The real thing, so you don't have to worry at all about potency or purity or safety of a dietary supplement!

WHY GARLIC?  The key component: anti-bacterial ALLICIN.  It may be beneficial to your immune system, and relatedly help prevent some cancers, treat ear infections, decrease incidence of colds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and heart attack risk (by decreasing clotting in the blood)!

The science still has a lot to nail down as far as providing reliable research (unlike BROCCOLI, which is SO SOLIDLY helpful regarding cancer prevention and even treatment!), however, garlic has been used for MANY generations, and it isn't going to harm anyone, so why not give it a try!

Click on the image for a 15 second summary from Dr Oz!
(go forward on the video to 1:00 and just watch the end for the garlic benefits!)

I am "taking" 1-3 cloves of garlic per day for at least the next two weeks (I've actually been trying to do so for a few weeks now!).  I do this by peeling a clove and then chopping it into 4-5 small pieces and then swallowing them like a pill!  Thanks to my hubby's mom, and Dr Andrew Weil for the clever tip for consuming lots of fresh garlic!  This helps minimize breath/aftertaste problems.

I tried 5 small cloves one day...after I'd missed a few days, and it was too much!  You'll know right away if the garlic isn't agreeing with your body!

Not sure how to notice if the garlic is doing any good other than making it through the whole winter cold-free.  Then I'll know I certainly had fever colds than last year, since I'm sure I had a least one!


It normally takes AT LEAST that amount of time (2 weeks) for a new practice in your life to become a HABIT!

According to a study that measured this, it took a lot longer: an average of 66 days (at this point an activity had become as automatic as it ever would)!  Considering our two-week jump start, you can see on their graph below that the natural-ness or automaticity of the activity increased very steeply early in the habit introduction (see "Look here!" on the graph -- in about 20 days automaticity reached about 50-70% of total change which would plateau after 66 days).

AUTOMATICITY?  This was measured with questions related to a given new activity becoming 'hard not to do' and could be done 'without thinking'.

This drawing came from Jeremy Dean's blog: Psychblog.  Jeremy's interpretation was that it takes a long time (average of 66 days) to form a new habit; I saw it differently -- seeing the early changes in automaticity as extremely motivating!
Psychblog is a very cool blog about current psychology topics and research :)


Consider that most recipes only require a few cloves of garlic, which will then be divided into many servings.  Also, cooking garlic may diminishes its medicinal properties.  Still, garlic is DELICIOUS and present in many cuisines!  Here are some examples!

Try Chinese -- Rich and Tasty Tofu Stir Fry
OR Indian -- see a convenient meal in a box!
OR Middle Eastern -- Heavenly Hummus
OR Italian -- EASY Eggplant Parm (it's in the sauce, but you could add more!)
OR American -- Hearty "Turkey" Meatloaf
OR Mexican Fiesta Bowl

RELIABLE GARLIC RESOURCES (Great sites to search health-related other topics!!)

Medline Plus

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

National Cancer Institute

University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary Medicine

COMMENTS: Do you get super-busy in fall?  How do you cope?  I just found out about a study that reported that there is actually a sort of mental disorder label for after-summer blues!  While I can't say I get depressed with this change of seasons, I certainly have a very full calendar and to-do list!  Thank goodness there are things we can do to simplify!  Ten Tips and Tricks to Simplify Your Life!


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