Friday, January 30, 2015

Sugar Addicts Unite! - Why It May Not Be Your Fault

The sugar industry is tricky and the processed food industry is trickier.  They know that if we get hooked on their foods that we will keep coming back for more......much the same as an alcoholic craves alcohol.  "How are these industries tricky," you ask?  They include sugar in almost everything we eat.  Sure, we know that chocolate cake has sugar.  That's a given.  When we choose to eat chocolate cake, we are choosing to eat sugar.  However, sugar can also be found in ketchup, crackers, bread, pasta sauce, soup, salad dressings, cereals, canned fruit, yogurt............the list goes on and on.  Once we get a taste for sugar, we will want more and more.  We can read the facts that say sugar is bad for us.  We can look at the increasing number on the scale and it doesn't stop us.  We want more and more sugar. 

Sugar Addiction I'll avoid sugar in processed foods.  How hard can that be?

Pretty close to impossible.  Sugar has so many names.  I recently saw a list that included about 68 different names for sugar.  The list includes maple syrup and honey which I use as  my sweetners. However, when we are talking about sugar addiction...........sugar is sugar.  It doesn't matter if it's natural or man-made.  In my mind there are two goals with sugar for my family. Use natural sweeteners to avoid chemicals and perhaps even more important is to reduce our overall sugar consumption.    

I believe knowledge is power.  Educating yourself on all the names that are used for sugar is important.  I've talked quite a bit about how we should be reading labels, but if we don't know what we are reading that won't help much.  Knowing the various names for sugar will help us all to make a more informed decision about sugar.  Take a look at the infographic below and start learning these names.  When you have these all figured out continue on with the learning process.  These are some of the most common names.    

Have you started looking at labels?  Are you surprised at all of the sugar in your packaged foods?  Are you surprised that packaged foods often include several different types of sugar?  Do you feel that you are or have ever been addicted to sugar? 

Come back next time for some answers.  I'll be talking about some things you can do to tackle your sugar addiction. 

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). You can follow what others are doing for the Real Food Experience using #RealFoodExperience. 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. Please join us and share us with your friends!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's Get Real Friday Party # 75

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.

Let's Get Real

** If you are interested in co-hosting Let's Get Real with us, we would love to have you. Please email Christina at: It's super easy to host and a whole lot of fun.

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.

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!)

Jessica from Dreaming of Leaving

Dreaming of Leaving

It's been cold for a lot of us this week.  This collection of soups that Jessica has put together is sure to be enjoyed by us all.


Real Food is Delicious: Recipe Resources to Help You Make the Switch to Natural Sweeteners

Real Food is delicious.  Funny that this even needs to be said.  I often explain to folks that my family has made the transition to real food and they look back at me like I have two heads.  If I am eating real food..........then just what are they eating they are thinking.  They assume they are eating real food, too.  I then explain that we healthier foods than we used to., I must be crazy and certainly no fun at all.  Why would anyone want to eat "healthy food"?  That is an easy answer...........because real "healthy" food is delicious!
Once you purge chemicals from your body, the foods that you used to eat will taste different.  I remember my surprise when I had a "cheat day" and ate some of my old favorite foods.  I almost spit them back out.  The foods that used to make me happy and taste delicious tasted like nasty chemicals.  How could that be?  I'm no scientist, but I think we get used to certain flavors and the chemicals actually trick our taste buds.  Once we get rid of that chemical taste bud training (my words and not actual scientific jargon), we can once again taste the processed foods for what they are...........chemicals and cheap artificial ingredients.  

The opposite is also true.  Real foods taste even better that before.  The sweetness of an apple is amazing.  I found that I was better able to recognize and appreciate subtle differences in foods.  I eat a handful of nuts and each one has their own flavor.  I remember saying silly stuff like, "I wonder what this will taste like?"  I was like a giddy school-girl running around trying new foods for what tasted like the first time. 

Using natural sweeteners is a great way to get rid of processed foods.  If you look at a box or can or bag and it says.............sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose............anything, but sugar and maple syrup then put it back on the shelf.  In addition to getting rid of the mass amounts of sugar that you were eating, this will help you to get rid of a lot of other chemicals as well. 

OK, Christina..........I'm going to try to make the switch to natural sweeteners.

Now, what do I eat?  I don't want to starve!  I don't want you to starve either.  That would be a BAD thing.  The good news is that I've got great friends with super delicious recipes and they are here to help.  If you try just one new recipe this week, you will be one meal healthier than you were last week. I promise once you realize how delicious real food is, you won't want to go back.

Nicky, from Little Family Adventure has a delicious real food meal plan for this week.  I have made lots of her recipes and they are all easy to assemble and always delicious.  Next on my list is her Southwestern Taco Bake with Cornbread Crust.  My family loves Mexican food and I sure do love to have family dinners where everyone is happy and relaxed and enjoying dinner together.

KC The Kitchen Chopper is sharing information on probiotics, natural sweeteners, fitness advice and my favorite..................a recipe for Mango, Barley, Avocado, and Chicken Chopped

That should take care of your dinners for a while.  Gaye over at Calm.Healthy.Sexy is sharing a recipe for homemade energy bars.  They can be customized to your taste and are sweetened with Medjool dates.  They don't have any sugar in them.  One of the neat things about sweetening foods is that you don't always have to use sugar.  Bananas, applesauce, and dates are all wonderful sweeteners.

I'm sharing a recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Whole Wheat Muffins.  They are delicious and contain just a hint of honey to sweeten them.  The real sweetness comes from the fruit jam.  They are perfect for breakfast, snacks, and lunch boxes.  Give them a try and let me know what you think. 

I hope this helps you to continue on your real food journey.  Don't be afraid to try new recipes.  Don't worry that you are not a chef...........just get in the kitchen and do the best that you can.  You are going to make a huge difference in the health of your family.  They may not thank you know, but they probably didn't thank you for changing their diapers either.  We do these things because we love them and their health and well-being matters to us. 

Have you tried any new recipes lately?  What is your favorite sweetener?  Have you discovered any new flavors lately?  I'm always surprised when I find out I like a food that I have never liked in the past.       


You can also check out Week 1's recipe resources which focus on fruit and vegetables here

Helping Families Transition to Real Food
Week 2 was all about whole grains.  Here is where you can find a bunch of whole grain recipe resources.
Whole Grain Recipe Resources
Week 3 was the start of cutting out harmful ingredients.  Here are some resources to help avoid artificial ingredients.
Resources to help avoid artificial ingredients


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Easy Real Food Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Saturday mornings are my favorite time to cook and create these days.  We are busy all through the year with the kids activities, but winter is a little quieter.  The little ones have gymnastics class in the afternoon, so that leaves the morning open to create.  These peanut butter and jelly muffins were born out of a dream or maybe I should say a craving that I woke up with.  My cousin over at Winter Delights makes the best homemade jams.  She gifts them to us at Christmas and I buy some from her often throughout the year.  Since we are just beyond Christmas.........I knew we still had some of her strawberry jam in the refrigerator.  It disappears pretty quickly so I knew I better satisfy my craving soon. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Whole Wheat Muffins

Now a little bit about these muffins and my creative process.  My little guy loves peanut butter..........but he doesn't like too much peanut butter in his recipes.  It's weird to me.  All of the time I create a recipe thinking he will love it and he returns it to me with a look of disgust and a very polite, "No thank you."  I always look back at him surprised and say something like, "Don't you like it sweetie?  It has peanut butter in it.  You love peanut butter."  His simple response always is, "Too much."  He is a little man of few words when it comes to his food choices.  Last Saturday I was determined to make a muffin he would eat. 

We are in the middle of the Real Food Experience so we are talking a lot about whole grains and natural sweeteners so this recipe needed to include those elements.  My final result............this recipe I have listed below which is a very light peanut butter flavored muffin made with whole wheat and honey.  I used regular whole wheat flour so there is a nice biscuit-like quality to these muffins.  I like that.  It hold up to the jelly nicely and I find one muffin very filling.  It's a nice little treat without any yucky processed food ingredients.  They are not overly sweet which I like because the jam adds extra sweetness.  My daughter has put her seal of approval on them.  She said, " I don't care what you call them Mom.  I call them good!" 

I'm a bit of peanut butter girl so my next step is to make a super duper peanut butter muffin for me.  I'll let you know how that turns out.  In the meantime........these are pretty good with a bit more peanut butter slathered on them instead of the jam too. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Whole Wheat Muffins

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins


  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) 
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jelly per muffin

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your muffin pan. I used butter to grease my pan.
  2. Stir together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).
  3. In a separate bowl mix together banana, oil, honey, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla. I used my stand mixer.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Scoop muffin mixture into greased muffin pans. I use my ice cream scoop for this.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cut in half and serve with strawberry jelly.
Makes about 12 large muffins.  You could also stretch it out to 18 smaller muffins.  They freeze well.......if they last that long.  They hold up well in the lunch box, but I would pack the jam separately. 
So.........please tell me I'm not alone.  What are some of your family's food quirks?  What is your busiest season of the year?  Do you like to be creative in the kitchen or do you follow recipes exactly how they are written?

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). You can follow what others are doing for the Real Food Experience using #RealFoodExperience. 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. Please join us and share us with your friends!

If you have missed any of the Real Food Experience 2015 can find them all on the Real Food Experience 2015 page.  Keep it bookmarked and share it with your friends.  It's a wonderful reference piece.   

You might also like:  Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
Pumpin Spice Muffins