Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Reasons You Might Want To Change Your Diet

Like many, my real food journey started with illness.  I've told my story before, but if you don't know.......I felt like I had the flu for over a year.  I had gal bladder surgery and umbilical hernia surgery..... all in an attempt to get rid of the sick feeling that was always present for me.  I was worn out, nauseous, and umm..........spent too much time in the bathroom.  The surgery didn't work.  In fact, it seemed to make things worse.  Pepto medicine was my constant friend.  This was no way for an active mom to be living. 
5 Reasons You Might Want To Change Your Diet
What is interesting about all of this to me is that I never had a problem eating anything before this happened.  I could eat any food and I wasn't allergic to anything.  So, why was this happening to me?  To this day, I still don't really know why this illness came on me so suddenly and with such severity.  I have a couple of guesses.  Age may be one of the reasons.  Your body just changes as it gets older.  My other thought is that it was due to an accumulation of chemicals in my body.  You can't eat junk forever without it affecting your body.  Eventually, the bad eating habits caught up with me and started breaking my body down.   
Have you been thinking that a change in diet might be in order for you?  Here are some signs to looks for:
1. Too much time in the bathroom:  Can you tell that I'm not in the medical profession?  I'm not real comfortable talking about this, but this is a clear sign that you need to change your diet.  If you are constipated all the time or have frequent diarrhea, that is a problem.  It's not normal.  I often hear things like "it's normal for me."  That may be true, but that doesn't make it normal.  You may want to look at changing up your diet. 
2. You are bloated: A common cause of bloating and acid reflux is irritation and inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet.  In fact, "leaky gut syndrome" can occur when your intestines are broken down which allows undigested food particles, microbes, and toxins to pass through the intestines and float around your body.  It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that this is NOT a good thing.  You may want to look at changing up your diet.
3. You have a weakened immune system:  Do you catch every cold that passes by you?  Your body will naturally fight off illness if you eat a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients.  The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is rooted in good nutrition.  I'm not saying you will NEVER get sick.  Wouldn't that be nice?  However, if you seem to get sick more frequently than your friends or with greater severity, you may want to take a look at your diet.
4. Your energy crashes every day around 2:00:  OK.......it may not be 2:00 for everyone, but you know what I mean.  If you feel like you must have another coffee or snack or whatever to make it through the afternoon, then energy crashes are an issue for you.  It's hard to be supermom when your head is laying on your desk every afternoon or you are falling asleep at the PTA meeting.  Wait!  What did I just volunteer for?  A change in diet can help fix energy crashes.
5. Mood swings:  Before, I go any further with this one, if you have depression or anxiety that makes you feel out of control, please consult a professional.  Food fixes a lot, but it can't fix everything.  For some of us though, food can help.  Mood swings and anxiety can occur when our brain is not getting the nutrition it desperately needs.  I know that I feel much more "in control" since changing my diet to real food.  I still have my moments (don't we all), but those are usually caused by lack of sleep these days.  If you want to gain control over your mood swings, a change in diet may be in order. 
If you have any of the above issues, I encourage you take a look at your diet and consider making a change.  I have found that a real food diet which is free of most chemicals has been the fix for me.  I spent years and years eating frozen diet meals for lunch each day.  I thought I was doing good because I was watching my weight.  Come to find out.........I was doing all kinds of damage to my body because of all the chemicals in those meals.  I want you all to be healthy and happy so you can be the supermom (grandma, aunt, friend, sister) that you were born to be.  Even, if you think you are eating healthy, there may be areas that are in need of "cleaning" up.  Start with your next meal.  Your body will thank you for it. 
I promise to keep bringing you the best and most accurate information on nutrition I can find..........and hopefully with a little bit of humor along the way as well.  You can find lots of great information on this blog (check out the tabs above and the archives).  Make sure to subscribe by email so you don't miss anything.  You can also find lots of great tips, tricks, advice, and fun on my facebook page and my other social media. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Let's Get Real Friday Party #58

Woot! Woot! Let's get this Friday started. Let's Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That's right! It's all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That's you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

**This week you can enter to win next week's special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

Special Note: We have started a "Let's Get Real Bloggers Facebook Group". We would love to have all of you Let's Get Real bloggers join us as we help each other to grow.

Let's Get Real
A Big Welcome to our very Special Co-Host Sandi from A New York Foodie! Make sure you give her a big Let's Get Real welcome!
Sandi from A New York Foodie


I'm not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.
Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

2) Please don't link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let's show them some love!

3) Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.

We will be pinning our favorites!!

My Let's Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

(Drum Roll Please!)

Only GiGi can combine all of my favorite Thanksgiving ingredients into a muffin that is delicious and even healthy.  And...........give it a funky name.  Turbutkle Bites are soon going to be a new favorite.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Do You Have A Healthy Relationship With Sugar? - 5 Easy Steps To Help

Without a doubt........sugar is my weakness.  I don't know what it is about sugar, but it has such a hold on me like nothing else does.  I think it has to do with all of the years I spent eating processed foods.  Processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and fat.  That's why we like them so much and keep coming back for more........... even when we know these foods are not good for us. 

Healthy Relationship With Sugar

I really want my kids to grow up with a healthy relationship with sugar.  As a general rule, we use only honey and maple syrup as our sweeteners.  This has really helped us cut back on the processed foods.  Don't you worry......my kids still get plenty of sugar.  There are always holidays, parties, and treats for everything.  That is why I make such an effort to cut back on sugar at home...........where I have more control over the foods we eat.  

Here are 5 tips that have really helped us.  Can you tell I like to make lists?  I'm on a list kick lately! 

1.  Remake your recipes.  Honey and maple syrup are kind of expensive.  I don't want to use too much for budget reasons.  I decided to use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sweetener when recipes like muffins call for a full cup.  My Pumpkin Spice muffins use just a 1/4 cup of honey.  They still taste great and I have cut the sugar way back.  Good for nutrition and good for the wallet.  That's a double win!

2.  Dump the sugary drinks.  You and your kids just don't need them!  One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.  Holy cow!  That's 3 times the amount of sugar that is recommended for children for an entire day.  Now let's do some math and figure out how out of control that can get real quick.  Don't we just love our free refills when we go out to eat?  Do we only get thirsty one time per day?  I don't think so!  We switched our family to drinking mostly milk and water.  Water is our primary beverage.  It may seem strange at first, but can quickly become the norm if you give it a try.

3.  Create your own frozen treats.  We like to freeze smoothies in our favorite Norpro silicone tubes and make popsicles.  We found some really cool popsicles molds at TJMaxx.  This time of year you can find them pretty cheap.  My daughter has been having fun experimenting with making different frozen treats.  You could also make your own ice cream and control the amount of sugar you use.

Affiliate Link

4.  Get rid of the processed foods.  Make your own cookies, granola, energy bites, and treats.  You can really control the amount of sugar you add when you make your own.  When you dump the processed foods, you will also dump all of the hidden sugars.  Have you ever noticed that processed food likes to include sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup all in the food?  That's 3 sugars all in one food!  Who needs that?


5.  Don't get rid of sweets completely.  I really think that if I said that we were never, ever, ever eating sweets again my family would revolt and I would be living alone.  That just seems to ramp up the cravings and the sneaking around behind my back.  With all things moderation is key so a treat once in a while is fine.  What I really love about cutting back sugar is that I have reclaimed the treat.  Now, when I say let's go get ice cream............they all look at me as if I am the greatest mom in the world.  It really is a treat rather than an everyday occurrence that they take for granted.  You should see the look I get when I allow a donut.  That's even rarer.  They look at me like it's a test........wondering if I have finally lost my mind for good.  Yep!  It's fun not to eat sugar all of the time.

Sugar is a tough habit to break, but there are steps you can do to reduce its hold on you and your family.  Give it a try and let me know what works for your family.  What sweeteners do you use?  Why did you choose those sweeteners?

I would love to have you join me on the various social media.  We have a blast there.  We have some really great conversations on Facebook.  I am planning on writing some posts from these conversations.  Just click on the links at the top of this page to become a fan, tweet with us, and pin away with us.  You can also find me on Instagram as juggling_real_food.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

5 Tips To Develop Healthy Eating Habits In Your Kids + 1 Bonus Tip

It's no secret.  My kids did not start out with the best example of healthy eating.  Pizza, pop for breakfast, fast and processed food was the norm in my house.  There were some weeks that we probably didn't eat ANY fresh fruit or vegetables.  Yes, that is pretty terrible I know.  So what did we do to turn it all around and start teaching healthy eating habits?

Teach your child to eat healthy

Here are 5 easy tips that you can start today to turn things around in your house: 

1.  Eat together as a family.  Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Pick a meal and sit down together.  Turn off the TV and start the conversation.  This is a great time to talk about food.  Be intentional at first.  Start the conversation.........What are your favorite fruits, vegetables, grains........you get the picture.  Eating together is comforting for children.  Help them to relax and discover a whole new side of them. 

2.  Correct portion sizes.  This is one we are still working on.  I use the word "correct" because kids are all different.  Some kids eat too much and some eat too little.  What we are working on here is that they get the appropriate portion for their size and activity level. Looking to shrink portions?  I suggest smaller plates and forks to start with.  The smaller plate will look full with less food.  Looking to increase portions for your picky eater.  Make sure to include a wide variety of foods to choose from.  I find that choices work real well when trying to provide a balanced meal.  Not a different meal......just choices within that meal. 

3.  Cook more meals at home. I promise you it is easier than it looks.  Get your family into the kitchen to help.  Restaurant meals tend to have more salt, fat, and sugar in them than meals prepared at home.  Even when you think you or ordering healthy at a restaurant, you likely are not.  Cooking meals at home is a great way of showing the importance of food to your kids.  Introduce them to new foods.  You may be surprised what they are willing to eat if they are the ones cooking it. 

4.  Include your kids in the process.  As a busy mom, I know there is more to preparing balanced nutrition than simply cooking a meal.  Let your kids in on all of that.  Take them to the grocery store and show them some labels.  Let them know what ingredients you are trying to avoid and why.  Take them on a scavenger hunt through the store in search of foods without high fructose corn syrup.  They will quickly discover if they stay on the perimeter of the store they can win that contest.  Let them help make their lunches.  Show them the importance of including protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains in their meals. 

5.  Keep a variety of healthy snacks available.  Teach your children about empty calories and how they are really a waste of eating energy.  You are not a mean mom.  You love your children and that is why you want them to eat the most nutrient-dense foods available.  By giving them fruits, veggies, and whole grain snacks, they can grow up to be big and strong like their favorite super hero. 

And now the bonus..............  

Education:  I mentioned this a few times as part of the other tips, but I have found that even from a very young age children really understand nutrition.  They may or may not like certain foods, but they can grasp that some foods are healthy and some are not.  Give them the tools they need to make healthy decisions.  

What have you found to be most helpful in teaching your kids healthy eating habits?  Have they ever surprised you by choosing healthy over junk food?  What about the other way around?  How many days a week do you eat together.