Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's Get Real Friday Party #35

Welcome to our Let's Get Real Blog Hop!

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.**

Let's Get Real Friday Party
 
A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Chrystal from    YUM eating! Make sure you give her a big Let's Get Real welcome.
 
Chrystal YUM eating
 
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.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +
Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Chrystal:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +


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!



We will be pinning our favorites!!


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

(Drum Roll Please!)

Chickadee Says

Chickadee Says

I have been trying to make cheese sticks for a while now and they just haven't turned out right.   Kait has figured it out and share her secrets for success here.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

7 Tips to Help Your Teen Make Healthy Food Choices

Hello friends!  Welcome back.  When my family made the switch to real food, I had two kids who were firmly planted in a fast and processed food world.  My teenage son who is now 16 probably had to change the most.  He is a rather picky eater and is a creature of habit.  He likes things the way he likes things.  He eats his breakfast in the same spot every morning and don't you dare try to move him.  I really moved him out of his comfort zone when I changed what we ate at each meal.  There was nothing familiar about it and that made him very uncomfortable.



I had a very pleasant surprise this weekend and I want to share it with you (shout it out for the world to hear) as evidence that teenagers can change their eating habits.  Our church always has a table full of bread and bakery treats from a local grocery store available to pick up and take with you.  They are free from the store because they are "day-old" and no longer allowed to be sold.  My teenager picked up some donuts in a package and was pretty thrilled to have a treat to eat.  His plan was to eat the whole dozen himself this week while he is on spring break.  My husband pointed out the garbage ingredients in them (they were really bad) and he actually put them back.  I was stunned!  That boy is stubborn and doesn't like to be told what to do.  Obviously, some of the lessons we are teaching him are actually being heard.

Along our real food journey I have picked up some tips on helping teens make healthy food choices.  Here are some things that have helped in our family.

1.  Let your teen have some control.  We all should have control over what we are putting in our body.  I sat down with my son and explained to him that I wasn't trying to ruin his life.  I shared with him some of the research I had been doing and provided him with logical reasons for making the change to real food. I actually gave him printouts of some of the articles and let him know some of my favorite websites so he could make an informed decision.



Teenager on the phone not ordering pizza


2.  This one may be shocking to real food purists, but I let my teenage son buy school lunches.  As you know, I pack real food lunches for my little ones, but I decided to let my teenage son continue to buy school lunch.  I assumed I would have a complete rebellion if I made him start packing lunch and I really felt it was important to have him on board with our changes.  I have the opportunity to feed him healthy real food for 2 meals and multiple snacks during the week and all weekend.  This is a huge improvement for him and that is what matters most to me. 

3.  Make sure your teen is getting enough calcium.  My boy is growing like crazy and plays sports.  I want to make sure he has really strong bones.  Teens like to swap out milk for sodas so it's important to make sure they drink plenty of milk and eat cheese and yogurt.  There are also lots of non-dairy foods like oranges, white beans, and kale that are a great source of calcium.  At home, we only drink milk and water so I know my son is getting plenty of calcium.



My boy's passion is football.


4.  Keep only healthy foods in the house.  My teenager has plenty of opportunities to eat junk food, but when he comes home from school and is looking for something to eat, he only has healthy real food to choose from.  You will be surprised that most kids will eat healthy foods if they convenient.  My son's favorites are DIY microwave popcorn, cheese, peanuts, and raisins.  Yep, he loves to eat dried grapes by the handful.  I was surprised to.  

5.  Plan simple balanced meals.  My teen doesn't like anything "fancy".  He likes plain meat and simple vegetables.  Breakfast foods are one of his favorites so we often eat scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast or pancakes for dinner.  Real food is all about keeping things simple, so that is what I did when I started to cook real food for the first time.  There was no need for elaborate recipes or unusual ingredients.   

6.  Remake their favorite meals using real food.  Just clean up the ingredients.  I make my meatloaf with organic meat and put shredded onions and carrots in it for added nutrition.  He gobbles it up.  I also make homemade chicken nuggets.  Chicken nuggets were always his choice when we were living at the drive -through windows.  We now eat whole wheat pasta and make homemade sauce or an organic jar sauce without added sugar.  It's a simple switch that was easy for us.

7.  Have a cheat meal once in a while.  My family doesn't eat out that much these days, but when we do I let my children choose whatever they want.  I want them to understand how their bodies feel when they eat real food and when they eat processed food.  I notice a difference and I want them to feel that too.  I praise them when they order a side of vegetables or salad and try real hard not to roll my eyes when they make less healthy choices.  I'm a firm believer that it is how we eat most of the time that will determine our overall health.  A few cheats here and there won't destroy the firm foundation of health that real food provides us.

I hope this helps.  I know when I started my real food journey, I found very little information to help me with my teens.  We all like to brag how well we feed our little ones, but it becomes so much harder when they get older.  Teens are active with school, sports, work, and other activities.  Much of what they eat is of their own choosing.  I have found though that parents are still a huge influence on their teens.  It is important to be a good example to them.  They may just surprise you one day and put back the donuts.

Do you eat the same now as you did when you were a teen?  Do you have trouble getting your teen to eat real food?  What is the biggest obstacle for your family to make the change to real food?  Have your kids ever surprised you with a healthy food choice?  Leave me a comment below and let me know if this helps you in any way.

The Juggling Real Food and Real Life Newsletter is Coming!


Make sure you subscribe by email so you don't miss a single issue.  Facebook is showing you less and less of what I post there.  The only way not to miss a post is to subscribe by email. You can subscribe by entering your email address to the right of this page. Just wait to see what I have coming. Please also follow us on our various social media. You can easily find me there if you have questions. Twitter is a great place to chat. Follow me @jugglngrealfood and introduce yourself. The Juggling Pinterest Boards are crammed with lots of great information and recipes. Check them out!  Come back each Friday for our Let's Get Real Friday Party.  The best bloggers from across the web link up their favorite posts from the week.  It's quite a treat!


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One Year Ago:  Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Am I Sick All Of The Time?

Why am I sick all of the time? This is the question that I was asking myself not all that long ago.  For the first time in my life I was not feeling invincible.  In fact, I was worried that there was something really wrong with me.  I felt like I had the flu all of the time for more than a year.  At times it was really bad.




Why Am I Sick All of the Time?


Let me tell you a little about those really bad times.  There was the time that I went to Florida to see my oldest march in the marching band at Epcot Center and celebrate my baby turning 3.  Instead of having a ball at the Magic Kingdom, I spent most of the day in bed at the hotel.  There was the time I was to take my Girl Scout troop out to breakfast and then on a tour of 4 different museums in town.  I never even made it to breakfast. Oh.........this was a strange one.  I was feeling perfectly fine so I took my daughter to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  Within a short time of being there, I found myself stuck in the bathroom and unable to leave because of the way I was feeling.  I had to call my husband from the bathroom to come take over parenting duties.  He showed up with a bucket in the car for me.  Yep, it was that bad! 


I went to my doctor for help.  In fact, I had two trips to the emergency room for gal bladder attacks.  My last trip to the emergency room we discovered that in addition to the gal stones that I knew I had, I also had kidney stones.  I had my gal bladder removed and thought that would fix everything.  It didn't.  In fact, things got worse.  Much worse.  I found out from my surgeon that I had an umbilical hernia.  He said that the hernia wasn't that bad, but if I was having nausea because of it, I should have it fixed.  I had that surgery and was sure it would fix everything.  It didn't.  


I asked my doctor what else I could do to fix my situation.  I explained that I was a busy mom of 4 active children and I really couldn't afford to have much down time.  I was starting to miss work on a regular basis and my illness was really affecting my quality of life. His answer.........."Does Pepto help?"  Does Pepto help?  Are you kidding me?  This is the best he could come up with?  I was crushed.  Thoughts of dropping out of all of the activities that I love ran through my head.  Would I now have to miss out on little league games and dance recitals?  What if I was too sick to make it to their graduations...........and weddings............?? I refused to see that disappointed look in their eyes that was caused by me telling them that mommy was too sick to go somewhere with them yet again.  That look of disappointment and sadness still haunts me.


I had been eating a diet of mostly fast and processed food.  I had been doing some reading and wondered if a change in diet could help me.  I really didn't think it would fix everything, but I hoped that it would reduce some of my symptoms.  I Googled "real food" and read everything that I could on the subject.  I read and read and read.  I probably could have earned a PhD with as much as I read.  


To make a long story short............My change in diet did more than just help me feel better.  I was actually able to heal my body drastically.  I no longer carry a supply of Pepto with me everywhere I go.  I no longer worry about missing activities and work.  I have more energy than I have had in years and I was able to lose about 30 pounds.  I wasn't trying to lose weight.  It was just a nice side-effect of changing the food I eat.  My skin is brighter.  I have less headaches and the headaches I do have are much less severe.  


Why do I write about this now?  I've written about my health issues several times.  I never want to lose sight of why I made the change to real food and it's important to me that my readers know also.  I didn't make the change to real food so that I could act superior to other people.  It wasn't so that I could pay more for groceries.  I definitely did not make the change to real food so that I could judge other people.  Plain and simple.............it was a matter of survival for me and my family.  I never want to be that sick again.  Life has too much to offer for me to mess around with being sick because I'm eating fast and processed food.


If you would like to read some more about gut health, my friend Gaye at Calm.Healthy.Sexy has a good article to read.  She shares 10 things we need to know about gut health and probiotics.  You can read it here.  Janine at My Lamp is Full has a great article too.  There you can find out the signs of an unhealthy gut.  You may be surprised about some of signs. You can find her article here.  Both of these articles really spoke to me and I am convinced more than ever that eating real food is how I was finally able to heal my gut and get back to living the active lifestyle that I really wanted.


Have you read much about gut health?  Are you familiar with probiotics?  Have you seen an improvement in your health since cutting out or reducing processed food?  Share your stories here.  They just might help out another busy mom struggling to get through the day due to poor gut health.  I encourage you to consider real food.


The Juggling Real Food and Real Life Newsletter is Coming!


Make sure you subscribe by email so you don't miss a single issue. You can subscribe by entering your email address to the right of this page. Just wait to see what I have coming. Please also follow us on our various social media. You can easily find me there if you have questions.  Twitter is a great place to chat.  Follow me @jugglngrealfood and introduce yourself.   The Juggling Pinterest Boards are crammed with lots of great information and recipes. Check them out!
    
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One Year Ago:  Spring Clean Processed Food Out of Your Diet


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Get Real Friday Party #34

Welcome to our Let's Get Real Blog Hop!

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.**

Linky Party
 
A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life! Make sure you give her a big Let's Get Real welcome.
 
 
 
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.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +
Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Michelle:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +


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!



We will be pinning our favorites!!


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

(Drum Roll Please!)



 
 
These healthy little appetizers are a great example of how beautiful and elegant real food is.  It doesn't have to be a difficult recipe to really impress your guests.  Delicious!


 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway