Thursday, June 10, 2010

We have moved!

Please take a moment to come and check out our new website and blog!  Same great information!  Much more user friendly and actually has some recipes on it now!  We will be adding to the new site daily so bookmark it and keep coming back!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Search for an Oatmeal Muffin Recipe

I had a craving for oatmeal raisin muffins last night.

The problem was that I didn’t have an oatmeal raisin muffin recipe.

I started “googling” online to find a healthy recipe that someone else had already tried and succeeded making. I searched through site after site of muffins that were “healthy”- and I learned that the word healthy can mean different things to different people. I was searching for a recipe that used only a little bit of honey as a sweetener, not cups and cups of sugar. I had no organic butter in my fridge, so the recipe had to be dairy-free. I wanted to use my new all purpose celiac flour to try making the muffins gluten-free (I had gluten-free quick oats at home).

There was not one recipe that satisfied my need! I could give up and be gloomy all evening, or I could get out my muffin pans and my beaters and experiment. And that is what I decided to do.

When I cook meals I like to try out different things: I will try out new spices, and use a ‘pinch of this’ and a ‘pinch of that’. And my meals always seem to turn out, for the most part. However, when it comes to baking, I like following a recipe. I’m just not the baking kind of girl, so I steer clear of attempting things and instead follow what I know works. I wasn’t sure that I could bake a tasty healthy muffin.

I wanted those muffins bad, so I had to let my guard down and go for it. I took a healthy cranberry-raisin muffin recipe I had and began to substitute this for that. And, to my surprise, it only took one attempt. I did not waste batches and batches of muffins before I found one that worked. Indeed not. They actually turned out. And the true test of how delicious they were came from my man, who ate many throughout the evening.

I learned that even if you don’t think you are good at baking, sometimes if you just try you will surprise yourself. I also learned that you can take the basis of any of your “old” recipes and re-create something new. It is possible to make muffins with only a tablespoon of honey instead of 2 cups of sugar. You don’t need loads of sweeteners to make something taste good.

So, I ask you: what recipes have you altered to make them healthier? What recipes have you made up when you were really craving something?

My next attempt will be an extremely healthy oatmeal raisin cookie. Yes, I AM hoping it can be done…..I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Infrared Saunas

Since the weather is still quite dreary here in Calgary, I thought this information would be helpful.

If you have never experienced relaxation that a infrared sauna can provide, I suggest that you make time to try it out. In addition to relaxation, the infrared sauna can be used for a variety of things including
  • pain management
  • detoxification
  • skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
  • increasing flexibility
  • increasing cardiovascular health
  • boosting the immune system
  • arthritis
  • fibromyalgia
  • seasonal depression disorder
You can find infrared saunas at many health and wellness clinics and spas. If you are in High River, check out Elements of Health.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picky Eaters: Veggie Time!

Helping kids develop healthy eating habits – Part 4

I love sitting down at the dinner table with my family to enjoy a meal. A common occurrence however, is for my youngest son to eat everything but the vegetables on his plate. He will quickly consume the food he ‘likes’ and then do his best to leave the table and play with out finishing his vegetables.

He is very creative in his attempts to get away with this. He will try every excuse from “I don’t feel well”, to “My tummy is full”, to “I will finish later…I promise!”, to completely ignoring us. He will be polite, he will get upset, and eventually he will push almost every button you have, depending on his mood that particular day. If you have a picky eater, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

In order to manage a state of calm during his creative attempts at manipulating his dinner time, my husband and I have used some equally creative diversion tactics. We have opted to making healthy eating a source of fun instead of what can often feel like punishment.

We have conversations about what foods are good for him and what is not, making sure our talks were relevant to a four year old, but we found a few simple tools can often be far more effective. Here is one such example:

 Use a fun system that your child will enjoy. We have a piece of colorful construction paper taped to the fridge, on which I have drawn columns. When Sam eats a piece of fruit, he can select a sticker of his choice and add it to the page. When he eats a vegetable, he can select another sticker.
 Because my son likes fruit, but is not really big on eating his veggies, we offer him larger stickers (that he really likes) for each veggie and smaller ones for the fruit. When he asks for snacks throughout the day, we check the sticker page with him to help him determine what would be the most appropriate snack.
 Note: I encourage variety over quantity, so under each sticker we write the name of the food he ate. That way as he adds to the page, he is aware that he already had one type of veggie or fruit so he must now select a different variety. This gives him a sense control over his food choices, but with the necessary guidance to ensure his choices are appropriate. For example, when he has had a banana and an apple, I may suggest some carrots, cucumber or broccoli. He is kept within choices I approve of, but the actual food he eats is by his own choosing.
 At the point in the day when he has earned at least 7 stickers (min 3-4 veggies), he is allowed to choose a fun activity to do, or he allowed what ever desert we may be having after dinner.

Be creative with your kids and have fun with food. Remember that healthy food can taste great AND be fun-it is all in your perspective and approach. Remember though, for this or any other system to be effective, you must be firm in your commitment to following through on the agreed upon rules. Be sure to explain the rules clearly to your child-in advance- and make sure you do not give in if they have not eaten what was agreed to. This will help them establish genuine healthy eating habits.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Searching for the Perfect Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your body and gives your brain the fuel it needs to get going. I have been one of those people who stands tired at the refrigerator door or pantry staring off trying to think of something quick and easy to make. So, I decided to share with you all some of my favorite morning foods to get me moving!

Slice up apples and put a small amount of raw almond butter on each slice. The apple is a great source of fiber and the almond butter will provide some good fats and even some protein.

Highwood Crossing Flaxseed granola with plain yogurt and frozen berries: yummy and it provides carbohydrates to fuel your brain.

Scrambled eggs with bell peppers and green onions. Eggs are a great source of protein , and bell peppers a good source of vitamin C.

Rolled oats or steel cut oats with cinnamon and sliced apples or berries: full of fiber and antioxidants, and the cinnamon helps with blood sugar control.

Cold cereals with unsweetened almond milk: sometimes I crave something that reminds me of my childhood!

Ezekial sprouted grain bread (you can find this at health food stores or at Superstore) with an unsweetened jam (only fruit, no sugar please!) or a natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts!), or poach an egg and serve it on top!

These are just a few of the many options out there! Try one of these next week, or share some of these ideas with someone you know who doesn't eat breakfast. And remind them just how important this meal is. What are your favorite foods to eat for breakfast?