Monthly Archives

March 2015

Simply Wholly Eating

The Dollars and Sense on Going Organic

March 31, 2015

Since starting this blog I get a lot of questions about the food I eat.
Especially about organic food and our family’s choice to eat organic and why it costs such a god awful amount over “regular food”. So, let’s clear a couple things up.

Farmers Market Strawberries

Do you always eat organic?

Look, there is no question in my mind that if and/or when I can select organic food, I do. There are a whole bunch of reasons and plenty of data to back-up the benefits of going organic. That said, if budgets or accessibility are an issue – AND THEY ALWAYS ARE – then just choose the best options you can! Your health is all that matters. And a banana over a candy bar is always the better choice. And no, we don’t always eat organic. It’s just not possible all the time – for us anyway. Besides, I still really really love cookies.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for a healthier lifestyle, no get-better-quick pill that is going to cure all of your ailments forever. (Although the pharma industry may not agree with me on that one.) So as you start down this path to a healthier, more wholesome life, in addition to being kind to yourself during the process, you should not create unnecessary blocks like committing to only organic food. It’s not necessary. What is necessary is committing to healthier choices. A commitment to yourself because you are totally worth it.

If you want to buy some things organic but are not sure where to start, check out the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15 lists from the Environmental Working Group to guide you. I love this site.

Why is organic so damn expensive?

Organic food it too flipping expensive. But most folks think that it’s because these (typically smaller) farms want to milk every penny they can out of us for healthier food. That’s just not the truth though.

Here are some of the reasons that organic food costs more. A bunch more can be found here*.

  1. Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do.
    Therefore, the price of organic food reflects actual cost of growing this food. There are no breaks for them. (So, if you use pesticides and other types of un-natural food stuff to grow your crops (conventional farming), you get a credit from our government, so you can sell your food cheaper. But, if you want to grow food free of all the nasties then, you’re shit out of luck. No breaks for you and the consumer gets stuck with the higher prices. Awesome how that works.)
  2. Organic farmers pay to have their farms certified and regularly inspected to label their food as organic.
    And you guessed it! Conventional farmers don’t.
  3. Organic farming is WAY more labor and management intensive.
    If you are not using all the “short-cuts” to yield fruitful crops, then you need more people, more time intensive methods, and more expensive processes. Period. (The best things in life are free. Except organic food.)
  4. Much better living conditions for animal and live stock.
    Have you ever priced out or purchased grain-free food for your pets? Well try doing to that on a farmer’s budget, with no government credits, longer processes, more people, less short-cuts and a hell of a lot more animals to feed. The bill adds up.

But if you get as fed up as I do about it, there are always options. Check out LocalHarvest.org, enter you zip code and find farmers markets near you. Cut out the middle man and save yourself some mula. Or checkout Thrive Market and get the food delivered to your door at wholesale prices. Who doesn’t like not having to go to the grocery store!

 

 

*I never thought I would share anything that originated from Fox News, but there is a first for everything. And it actually happens to be accurate.

Note: Any sites, links, vendors, etc. that I link to are not paid endorsements. Just me running my mouth about things that have made my health journey more manageable. However, if any of the said sites, links, vendors are reading this and want to pay me. Let’s talk. 🙂

 

 

photo credit: Fresh Strawberries via photopin (license)

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Derek’s Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

March 28, 2015

What else is there to do on a snowy day in the Spring? Make Almond Milk! Correction: My husband technically MADE the almond milk and I took the photos and wrote this lovely post.

Ingredient List

Almond milk ingredients

Almond milk ingredients

1lb. bag of Almond’s
1 Nut milk bag (like this one)
Sea salt
Dates*
Honey* (We use Carlisle Honey, but use whatever you have or enjoy.)
Nutmeg*
Cinnamon*
Vanilla*

*Optional Ingredient

Step-by-Step Recipe

Before you can get started, you will need to soak your almonds overnight or for at least 8-12 hours.

I’ve read various other posts that say you can get away with less. One blog even suggests 2-3 hours, but they were using a Vitamix and I am using a standard good ‘ole blender. So, if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, then it may be totally possible to get started earlier.

Once the almonds have finished soaking, all you need to do is strain the water out. A pound of almonds ends up making about a gallon of almond milk. This means you can play around with your ingredients! We made a batch of plain almond milk (with just a pinch of salt) first. And then we played around with the water to almond ratio, as well as additional optional ingredients, for the next couple of rounds until we were both very happy. That’s the best part about making your own food. You have total control of what goes in and how on spot it is to your own taste preferences.

Raw Almonds Soaking

Raw Almonds Soaking

Strained Almonds

Strained Almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on!

Now you are ready to go. Each batch starts by taking 1.5 cup of almonds and 3 cups of water and adding it to the blender. (Note: You will need to repeat this process about 4 times to get through the pound of  almonds. It’s not a perfect science.) This almond/water ratio was our preference because we like the nuttier taste, but 1 cup is totally fine. And if you have to be really cautious about calories, you can always add more water to cut it further. My daily lifestyle is pretty lean so I don’t know the nutrition info to this recipe – nor do I really care. If you are interested in general almond milk nutrition though you should definitely check this info out.

Almonds in the blender

Almonds in the blender

Blending away!

Blending away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the almonds have thoroughly blended you are going to need to grab your nut milk bag and a nice size bowl. This is where a partner in the kitchen becomes especially handy. Or you could even have a little fun with the kids and let them help out with this part. This can be done by one person as well as is evident from the pic below of my super coordinated husband getting his almond milk on. Don’t forget to wring our the bag and then set as the contents of the bag on a side plate or bowl for later. (More to come on this!)

Pour the contents of the blender into the bag. You need to pour fast enough to move the finely grated almonds into the bag and so the water sifts through. The easiest way to make this happen is to stir the contents of the blender up well and then start to pour immediately. Try not to let everything settle to the bottom. Otherwise, that’s where all the good stuff ends up.

Sifting the almond milk blend

Sifting the almond milk blend

Wring out the nut milk bag

Wring out the nut milk bag

Nutmeg and cinnamon for some extra flavor

Nutmeg and cinnamon for some extra flavor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have strained your almond milk, you are good to start experimenting with the optional ingredients. We added:

2 finely chopped Dates, 2 tsp. honey , 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.
If you want straight-up almond milk, you’re already done. But, we wanted to add some more flavor. I think even just honey and vanilla would be great. We’ll try that next time. We poured the strained almond milk back into the blender as well as the optional ingredients and blended one more time. Et voila!

Homemade almond milk!

Homemade almond milk!

PS: The taste is especially phenomenal in a stemless wine glass.

Repeat that process a few time more time until all your almonds are gone and you have about a gallon of almond milk that

Almond four!

Almond four!

you just made from scratch! By this point, you have a plate or bowl full of all the almond meal that you have been straining out. Spread the almond meal out on to a baking sheet . Turn your oven on to 170 degrees. Once the oven has hit the temp, put the baking sheet with almond meal on to the center rack and cook for about 1.5-2 hours (until dry). This will yield about 4 cups of almond flour.

The pros and cons of almond flour are pretty highly disputed. Just Google it. I personally have chosen to eat it very very sparingly because of its inflammatory properties. That said, it is incredibly nutrient dense so it may be a choice that you are totally comfortable with.

Recipe Summary

1.5 cup almonds
3 cups of water
2 Dates* finely chopped
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg*
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon*
1/4 tsp. Vanilla*
Pinch of Sea salt

Any questions? Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly. xo

Simply Wholly Living

5 Quick Ways to Clean-up Your Fridge

March 26, 2015

I made a completely aggressive overhaul of my fridge and pantry within 48hours. That was my plan and it has worked for me. But it was only meant for me. Get in touch with you and be honest about making small achievable changes.

Here are 5 easy ways to get started. Even just picking ONE is a huge step in the right direction.

1. Make the switch to almond/soy milk.
Dairy Milk is inflammatory. If you have an AI disease like me or are genetically predisposed to one genetically, this is especially important. If you simply just can’t live without dairy in your coffee, I get it! Take it slow. And if non-dairy milk is not your thing, try an organic milk. My son drinks FairLife. Admittedly, it is expensive, but it is the best milk I have ever drank in my life bc of their unique filtration process.

2. Add some collard greens to the mix.
Yes, COLLARD-GREENS. This cruciferous veggie is like the mother of all veggies. A TON of vitamin K which is a huge cancer fighting agent, a ton of vitamin C and E. Nevermind the fact that it is rich in natural calcium so if you were concerned with decreasing your dairy intake, eating collard greens should ease that fear. And it’s just like cooking spinach. No crazy prep needed here – although I put a splash of peach balsamic to sweeten them up. So good!

3. Sprinkle a little Flax Seed on it. 
To be fair, this is not the cheapest item in your fridge but it packs a ton of benefit and you don’t need to buy it that often because you only add a little at a time. You only need 1 tablespoon a day to reduce inflammation, reduce onset of cancer, prevent heart disease and even reduce hot flashes. I like to add the tablespoon to my morning eggs, pancakes, or even my green juice. It’s basically tasteless. So easy.

4. Eggs. That is all.
I will go out on a ledge here and assume that you already have eggs in your fridge, so this should be easy peasy. Simply keeping a few hard boiled eggs in the fridge can provide an effortless snack or breakfast option. This is perfect for those of us that are always on the go! They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, so make them on Sunday and get snacking.

5. ContainQuinoaer of quinoa.
Quinoa packs a lot of punch and a ton of protein for this fantastic little grain. And guess what? You can make it ahead and store it in your fridge for a week. Replace your normal rice or grain with this super healthy alternative. You can even toss some on salad or make a quinoa bowl if your feeling adventurous. The options are endless.

 

 

 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Simply Wholly Living

Welcome to Simply Wholly!

March 23, 2015

So, it’s officially official. I have a Blog and this is it’s debut. I am so glad that you could make it!

In the coming days and weeks, I will be serving up fresh content on Tuesdays and Thursdays because, let’s be honest, I can barely find time for lunch and 2x/week seems manageable. I do have aspirations for that to grow as I learn more about what content will make you happy and help you on your own path to where ever you may be going. I haven’t figured that out yet myself, but I know it’s somewhere awesome.

For now, my posts will be neatly divided into for the following categories:

  • Simply Wholly Living (spirit, faith, home, beauty, reading list, supplements)
  • Simply Wholly Eating (nutrition, recipes, shopping lists, what’s on my plate photos)
  • Just Because (a rant, a cry, a prayer, a poem, a picture, a quote, a joke)

Albert SchweitzerAnd of course, if you want more or less of something or something entirely new, please contact me. I am all ears!

More than anything else, I hope that my blog is a welcome solace to the every day rat race that many of us are in while also trying to overcome our own challenges whether it’s an auto-immune disease, a broken heart, the incessant voice in our heads that questions everything, etc. With any luck, you’ll learn something new that ignites your commitment to start treating yourself kinder and taking control of your own health – soul, mind & body.

Welcome to my journey. Enjoy the ride.

Be well, Lisa

 

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Coconut Flour Almond Meal Pancakes

March 19, 2015

Holy smokes, folks!

I added toasted coconut, coconut butter instead if dairy and blueberries, because blueberries must go in everything (according to my 14-month-old). Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

I cannot take credit for this recipe. Get the full article and details from the source. >

Coconut Flour Almond Meal Pancakes

Makes about 16 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 organic, pastured eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup milk (raw cow’s or coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic, raw grass-fed butter + more for serving
  • pure maple syrup to drizzle (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a large bow, mix all the dry ingredients: the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Slowly whisk in the wet ingredients: the eggs, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is smooth. (If it feels a little dry, add more milk until it reaches the consistency you’re after).
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt, then add scoops of batter (about a ¼ cup each) for silver dollar pancakes. Cook for about a minute on each side until golden brown. Slather with butter and drizzle maple syrup as desired.

 

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

March 14, 2015

I made this recipe this weekend. It is a bit of a labor of love, but if you love butternut squash like I do, it is TOTALLY worth it.

Get the full recipe from the source >

 

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup by Brianne Williams, RD, LD

Just Because

$13,825,400: The amount pharmaceutical companies paid MS doctors who prescribe their drugs

March 11, 2015

And that was only in 5 months! If you’re wondering why those numbers matter, check out this awesome article from Wheelchair Kamikaze:

National MS Society Decision Makers Take Big Bucks from Big Pharma

Just Because Simply Wholly Living

Perspectacles

March 11, 2015

Today I’m wearing my perspectacles as I sit at Dana Farber Cancer Center. My diagnosis pales in comparison to the many beautiful adults and children that are fighting for their lives here.

That includes my mom who has been battling Stage IV Melanoma for the last 4 years!  That alone has been its own miracle.

While her cancer is terminal, we come in for scans every three months to monitor the disease’s progression. So far, it’s been “stable”.

Hopeful for another “stable” report today and continued health. She doesn’t have a single ache or pain yet although cancer has invaded her whole body.

And because life can’t help itself but to throw more at you, when we walked in my phone rang and I learned that my beloved Godfather (her brother) was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The journey begins for another.

So whenever you are feeling low, remember to put on your perspectacles. Life can be so harsh but is much, much more beautiful if you stop and absorb each and every moment.

Simply Wholly Eating What's on my plate

What’s on my plate? Breakfast, lunch and dinner

March 10, 2015
Eggcakes! 1 egg, 1 banana! Add other stuff you love like Flaxseed, hempseed, chia seeds and cook like a normal pancake! My son loves them.

1 egg, 1 banana! Add other stuff you love like Flaxseed, hempseed, chia seeds and cook like a normal pancake! My son loves them.

Kale, beats, carrots, grapes with a lemon/honey dressing. So good.

Kale, beats, carrots, grapes with a lemon/honey dressing. So good.

Wild caught, fresh salmon. Spinach salad with blueberries, strawberries, mango, avocado and a citrus dressing. Yum.

Wild caught, fresh salmon. Spinach salad with blueberries, strawberries, mango, avocado and a citrus dressing. Yum.

Simply Wholly Living

Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease Found In Patients As Young As 20

March 3, 2015

Link to full article on Yahoo!: Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease Found In Patients As Young As 20

Quick Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease may not be just for grandparents to worry about: New groundbreaking new research from Northwestern University has found that amyloid protein — a hallmark of the devastating disease — starts accumulating in brain neurons of people as young as 20 years old…

…So what does this mean for you? First, know this: “In this study, we didn’t have a huge number of brains,” says Geula. “And this doesn’t mean that because young people have a measure of amyloids that everyone is going to get Alzheimer’s. It’s not an alarm.”…

…But there are susceptibility factors (that science knows a lot about) — and protective factors (that science doesn’t know as much about) — when it comes to Alzheimer’s, Geula says. “We have known for a while that if we want effective therapy for Alzheimer’s, we have to start early. What these findings suggest is the earlier the better.”…

1. Kick bad habits—stat.

2. Clean up your diet.

3. Work it out.

4. Better your brain.

My Takeaway.

There is no downside to this anti-inflammatory, low-stress, high positivity lifestyle that I am committed to. If anything, this finding only reinforces the benefits of really committing to your life by focusing on the health of your whole self: food, fitness and mind-set.