I have made no secret that I am not really big on juicing. I have a Vita-Mix and we just seem to prefer whole foods juices and smoothies, with all the pulp and juice combined. That said it can be very nice though to have a cup of fruit or veggie juice without all the frothy pulp and the full tummy that comes after drinking a whole foods juice. My kids especially like juices and we are loathe to buy them at the store because of all the unsavory ingredients (like lots of added sugar) that often accompany those products. Organic and natural juices are available but have you seen the price on those???
Plus, sugar is sugar and most kid’s juices have a lot of it. A green juice is much preferred. Just something refreshing that they can drink with their meal and not fill them up so fast they won’t eat their dinner. We used to own a juicer and we used it often enough but back then we had a different house with a teeny tiny kitchen and we simply did not have room to store a juicer anymore. So goodbye it went.
At any rate I didn’t like the actual juicer very much. It was my first one and I bought a cheap Jack LaLanne model. I disliked cleaning it and I hated handling the blades. It made me nervous every time I used it and we kept misplacing the little magnet thingy that helped you put the blades in correctly. I swore that someday I would get a better one and as luck would have it the folks at NutrioPro recently offered me one of their cold press juicers to try. I have been hugely impressed with it.
Here it is after removing it from the box. This is everything you get…
The list of items/parts for the juicer are:
-New Bella NutriPro Cold Press Juicer with quiet induction motor
-Stainless steel juice strainer
-Single juicing screw auger
-1 pulp container with handle
-1 juice container with handle
-1 cleaning brush
-5 year warranty
I LOVE that the containers have handles. It was also super easy to put together and I had it raring to go in about 2 minutes and it is MUCH quieter than our previous juicer and our blender. I also love that it is a cold pressed juicer. It has no blades so the fruits and veggies are not pulverized into juice, they are pressed or squeezed, using a two step system. The pressing action won’t oxidize the fruit and vegetables and it will help keep the nutrients and enzymes intact. This is also because anything with a blade, like a blender or a juicer with blades, will heat up and start to destroy the nutrients. Cold pressed juices are a much healthier way to go. I hate handling and cleaning blades so double whammy bonus points here.
Another aspect that thrilled me was the fact that you don’t have to shove the fruit/veggies down into it…you basically throw them in and they get sucked in on their own. The only thing that has needed a little help from me thus far has been greens, like Kale. Everything happens so smoothly, I love it. Perhaps this is why NutriPro Juicers are said to get more juice from certain fruits and vegetables than other juicers. For example, the NutriPro got 66% more pineapple juice than one of its main competitors.
The next big win for me is the ease with which you can clean the NutrioPro. I HATED cleaning our other one and that fact often made me shy away from juicing. This one was very easy to clean and I had it done in about 3 minutes. The fact that there is not a whole lot of pulp and debris leftover is a big help. The hardest part to clean was the stainless juice strainer. I spent 2 of the 3 minutes scrubbing that with the brush. Everything else could just be run through some soapy water and rinsed. Easy peasy. It is dishwasher safe too but my dishwasher was full when it was time to clean up.
The very first juice I made was something I am now calling my winter wellness juice. It is full of fresh ginger which is so very good for you…like a natural wonder drug. It is perfect for winter time when illness is rampant and yummy too.
Winter Wellness Juice
1 large apple
3 large kale leaves
3 stalks celery
1-2 inches of ginger
I like the idea of meal planning…in theory. In practice I typically only plan out two to three meals in advance. I just don’t have the organization skills or patience to plan much beyond that. It’s not at all uncommon though for me to be perusing our freezer trying to figure out what I can cook the next day. So when I see menu planning services online I think they are a great idea but probably not for me. I have tried a few over the years but usually they don’t cater to the specific ways in which my family eats. Whole traditional foods, vegetarian at one time, and now paleo.
This month though I decided to give it one more shot in an attempt to be more organized. I was contacted by eMeals and given the chance to take their service for a test drive and so far, have been pleasantly surprised. What hooked me was the ability to choose a paleo dinner plan. Who knew?! I figured that at the very least I get a weekly menu plan that I can peruse and cherry pick. What has ended up happening though is that more often then not I like following the plan more strictly because I can then use their shopping list to make that part of the task go all that much faster.
It also forces me to cook new things, which I do struggle with. It is easier and often cheaper for me to make the same things quite often. The problem though is that my kids have started to get sick of certain foods. My daughter now claims that she hates anything with chicken in it. My oldest boy has started to dislike pork and beef roasts. My youngest boy doesn’t want to eat soup anymore. Okay, okay I need to start varying the menu, I get it. Trying new things is good for all of us and I get out of my comfort zone.
The meal at the top of this post is one I made this week, Asian Meatballs and Sriracha Slaw. The meatballs tasted like mini meatloaf balls but with an Asian twist of course and I thought the slaw was also surprisingly yummy. I only needed a few things to make this recipe and the others work because they call for ingredients that would be common among paleo households. Almond flour and coconut aminos, no problem! Though for those newer to the game it also has substitution suggestions for the more exotic ingredients if need be.
Anyway my oldest ate all of it and my two youngest ate the slaw all up but picked at the meatballs, mostly because it had “green stuff” in it (basil). This is okay though because making stuff I know they will eat doesn’t work out so well when they get sick to death of it. We will all adapt. My husband got the leftovers and he raved over them, asking me to make it again soon. The entire meal is actually something that would be quite easy for me (or him) to make for his work lunch/dinner.
To get started you pick your family size and your food style. There are many options including gluten free, gourmet, low carb, paleo, vegetarian, clean eating, etc. The base price includes dinner plans only but for just a few bucks more you can add lunches and/or breakfasts. You get your first menu plan immediately. Actually I had access to two, the current week and the previous. I find it to be very simple in design and easy to use. I can’t see myself sticking to it religiously over the course of the year but I do see myself using it during those weeks when I need to buckle down and be more organized and that may be frequent this year.
Right now eMeals is offering 15% off for subscribers if you use the discount code newyear. I think they are playing up their low calorie and budget meal plans because this is the time of year when many are worrying about their weight (and their pocketbook) but you can use it for any of the meal plans. If you have been thinking about subscribing be sure to use the discount code. Enjoy!
I consider myself fortunate that I did not grow up on hoards of processed foods. My mother was very much the all American farm girl who slept in the barn with her pony whenever she could get away with it and ate farm fresh foods each night. When she moved away from Ohio to the urban sprawl of Phoenix, Arizona with her young family she fed us the same types of foods that were cooked on the farm. We also adopted some of the eating habits of the Southwest too which meant seafood (crab legs, fish) and lots of Mexican food but for us that did not mean Taco Bell. That meant Chimichangas cooked from scratch. My siblings and I developed adventurous palates and we grew up on REAL food. We ate very little that came out of a box.
Even back then this was radically different than what my friends ate. Most of them ate straight from boxes…macaroni and cheese, tuna helper, hamburger helper, Bisquick pancakes, boxed cornbread, and beans from a can. Pretty much all of them loved coming to my house to eat – where the pancakes were made from scratch and the ice cream churned in a silver bucket into something way more delicious than what you get from a half gallon tub at the grocery. I still hear from old friends that claim to be making my mom’s fondly remembered recipes for their own families now. I highly doubt anyone is that nostalgic about Hamburger Helper. Real food nourishes us, it creates community and fond memories, and it provides a healthy legacy for us to pass on.
But what if you didn’t grow up on real food? What if you grew up eating out of a box and can with meals from fast food eateries thrown in for convenience, as so many have and still do??? What if combining spices or making slow cooked meals seems too complicated? Well, that is sadly the pickle that many face but I am hopeful that the tides are turning and more people are wanting to return to the days of real food and cooking from scratch from real and identifiable ingredients. Even I know how easy it can be to just buy that can of cream of mushroom soup or the onion soup mix instead of making your own but if we want to reclaim our health we MUST reclaim our food.
This is why I was so excited to see a new book from Kitchen Stewardship (whose other books and web site I adore) called Better Than a Box. It is a great resource for those that want to include more real foods in their diet (and are a wee bit lost) and for those that already cook real foods but miss their old favorites that came from a box. It is way more than just a recipe book or cookbook - it’s a tutorial in real food cooking, reverse engineering processed foods, and creative recipe development because we can ALL do so much better than a box.
In the first 100 pages you learn how to transform your old favorites that came from a box or a can into 100% real food. Think Stovetop Stuffing, tuna casserole, hamburger helper, french onion dip, and cheese enchiladas. It also teaches how to remake your favorite resources such as dry onion soup, bouillon cubes, chicken stock, Velveeta, bread crumbs, salad dressings, tortillas, and many others.
As the site boats: “We leave no can of cream of mushroom untouched. No box of Stovetop Stuffing is safe”.
Are you ready??
Right now there are two different ways you can buy and both are an absolute steal and these deals are available THIS WEEK ONLY…
It has been a little over a year now since I decided to eschew my vegetarian diet and go paleo. It was just before Thanksgiving when I dived into the book Wheat Belly and in fact I was reading it before and after our Thanksgiving meal at my parent’s house. I felt like every paragraph was a revelation and I couldn’t wait to begin what I felt would be a brave new life journey. I wanted to see if going paleo would help with some nagging health issues that a plant based diet was having no success with. At that point I had already tried vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, raw, and a WAPF traditional foods diet. I didn’t try these for a few weeks and then cry about how they didn’t work out. I gave some of these a couple years, a year minimum usually.
I felt best on a raw diet or a traditional foods diet but none of them seemed to provide exactly what I was looking for. I am not even sure what I WAS looking for but I knew that I wasn’t sleeping well, I had too much visceral (belly) fat, I was hungry all the time, I had wicked cravings for junky food, and my hormones were not working as they should. After reading up on paleo it seemed to explain why I still had these nagging health issues. One month in I was hooked and now one year later I am still hooked and gung ho. I don’t think I ever quite knew what it felt like to feel good, I mean REALLY good until I dropped the grains and legumes. I didn’t even realize that I had been constantly bloated until that time either. For me that was normal…the way I felt every day. Now I know better and it is all thanks to a paleo/primal diet. I lost three pants sizes, my skin cleared up, I went all year with no ear or sinus infections (I had 2-3 each year throughout previous years), my thyroid issues improved, my energy levels skyrocketed, and I gained lots of muscle mass.
This diet experiment worked so well that is has now become my way of life. Yet at around the one year mark I had to admit that I didn’t go far enough. Instead of going full on paleo I went primal instead which allows for dairy products. I didn’t want to give up my yogurt and kefir (clarified butter is paleo and not a problem).
I also started out strictly primal and then eventually allowed myself to adopt the 80/20 rule that so many paleo/primal folks endorse….80% paleo/primal and 20% not. This became a problem for me because once I started eating that 20% I didn’t want to stop there. These foods were typically processed and/or filled with grains or added sugar. One of my 20% allowances was diet soda too and I KNEW that dose of artificial sweeteners was wreaking havoc on my hormones but this stuff was ADDICTING. Giving myself that 20% break did me no favors. I was a crack addict who felt that I could sneak in a hit now and then and be okay since it wasn’t an every day thing.
This book is every bit as ground breaking and life changing as Wheat Belly. I couldn’t put it down and had to keep reading bits and pieces aloud to my husband because it was just to darn important and I had to share. It has lots of science but it is broken down into easy to understand concepts. Some parts reminded me of the movie Osmosis Jones. If you haven’t seen it you are really missing out! It’s a cartoon about the workings of your inner body and some of the ways in which bodily functions are described in this book are reminiscent of the clever way that immunity, illness, and inflammation is shown in the movie. Want to know what a leaky gut is and why it is bad?? You will know after you read this book.
The book essentially goes through the functions and processes of four of your body’s hormones and how the food you eat directly impacts those functions. Some of the effects you may see and feel right away. Others are relatively silent but the damage is still being done. I knew the basics of all of it but this book really linked it together in ways I had not quite grasped. It also discusses the psychological effects of the food we are eating and how our body is sending signals to eat the wrong types of foods and making us crave them. Either by design or by accident ( I go with the former) the food industry has found a way to make our own bodies turn against us and crave the worst foods by creating foods that activate the aforementioned hormones. The damage being done is devastating…obesity, depression, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, insulin resistance, IBS, lupus, diabetes, horrible cravings, allergies, autoimmune disorders, and all manner of disease. Genetics may load the gun if you have a predisposition to some of this stuff but it really is your choice to pull the trigger or not and certain food choices pull that trigger.
The book makes a great case for why certain foods are making us sick and what we can do. The Whole30 is essentially a strict paleo plan and I knew that going in but it was still great to get a refresher course in why we need to avoid grains, legumes, soy, and a variety of other popular foods. There are four different criteria they use to decide which foods need to go. All the foods eaten during the 30 days have to create a healthy psychological response, a healthy hormonal response, support a healthy gut, and support immune function and minimize inflammation. The foods on the no list all fail to meet these criteria. They may fail on one count (dairy) or all four (grains, sugar). Either way you avoid those foods for the duration of the program.
The book has numerous personal stories from people who have done it to provide a little more incentive but I think the way you begin to feel even in the earliest days are incentive enough. I am looking forward to finishing my 30 days and reporting back but it is my goal to be strict paleo from here on out and avoid all dairy. I also plan to quit that 20% rule because even that 20% is enough to mess with my hormones and wreak all sorts of havoc.
I have a bit of a love affair going on with all things French right now. This is due in no small part to the some of the books coming out about French living, parenting philosophies, and cooking for kids. Do you remember my review of the awesome book Bringing Up Bebe – The Wisdom of French Parenting? Well that got me started and I can’t seem to stop. I loved that book and it made me realize that whereas attachment parenting resonated most with me whilst my kids were little I am definitely taking a page from French moms nowadays. It was where I was introduced to the concept of equilibre (eh-key-lee-bruh) or balance. Not letting any one part of life – including being a parent – overwhelm the other parts. Everyone probably wishes they had some do-overs in regards to parenting choices but one of my do overs would be to have lots more equilibre as a mom, wife, and woman with her own interests and passions.
Just like the aforementioned parenting book, I loved French Kids Eat Everything. Like the previous author, Karen Le Billon also moved to France only to be amazed by how mannerly French kids were and how they eat anything and everything set before them. French kids could manage to stay well behaved through a four hour meal with their parents and they relished foods that her own kids wouldn’t touch. The stark contrast between her own children and french children spurred her to investigate just what French parents were doing to achieve the near miraculous. This book is the result of all that research and also a memoir of her experiences and conversations. It is not only informative and helpful…it is also a page turner. How many parenting books and healthy eating books can boast that??
Once again I was amazed by how the school system works in France and just how well kids there eat. It is really a very rigid system and actually a rather punitive. No one’s quirks and preferences are pandered to and you if you don’t toe the line and conform to the rule of standard you are ostracised. While that may sound bad to me if that involves test scores or homework I see lots of value in that if it is nutrition education. Food education is mandatory in the French schooling system and this is so important because it ensures that all French children are eating healthy diets regardless of circumstance. We can see how in America it is the wealthier people who have greater access to healthy foods and nutrition education. It is just not like that in France. All kids from the time they are babies are encouraged to eat healthy foods within the school and daycare systems (also government run). Parents had the same education so they are on the same page. It really appears to be an awesome example of citizens and government being in sync with what is best for the people and nutritional health. In America the guy who vandalizes a McDonalds goes to jail. In France he is elected to office for being a crusader (true story).
In the US our government subsidizes crap food to make it artificially cheap whilst keeping healthy foods out of the reach of the poorer individuals. Nutrition education is also a joke. In France the kids are not only being taught from day one what is healthy to eat they are provided stellar meals with fresh fruit and veggies making an appearance every day (and being eaten), meats that include real chicken, fish, crab, roast pork (even in the poorest districts), real desserts (not twinkies), and water instead of sugary colored milk. Some schools even send home meals suggestions in advance for evening meals so that children are eating a perfectly planned and balanced diet.
You also won’t find too much of the fake processed foods in France that Americans seem to love so much. They have an affinity for healthy, quality foods and take pride in being foodies who want only the best. That may sound elitist but remember this is EVERYONE from the rich banker, to the school teacher, to the guy who fixes carburetors.
There are ten food rules in the book that were modeled to reflect the way of the French system and the author used to them to overhaul her own family’s eating habits. Many of them I copied into a notebook or on post it notes on the frig. Food rule #2 is to avoid emotional eating by not using food as a pacifier, punishment, or reward. I know this to be excellent advice but it is so hard to do in practice, especially if you were raised in a contradictory way. #3 revolves around scheduling and planning meals (much better than I currently do) and making sure kids eat what the adults eat or they don’t eat…period. Amen to that as I chuck my short order cooking apron.
Food rule #4 is all about making all meal times social and beautiful, ala setting the table like royalty is coming to dinner and really making every meal meaningful. #7 is about avoiding snacks, which we are already implementing. Snacking is just not done in France and I happen to LOVE this. I have such a hard time convincing my own kids that they will not die if they are not allowed to graze all day.
One of the best tips I picked up was about adding more veggies to the diet (I forget what food rule that was). The author started making soups reminiscent of the purees that French babies eat to train their palates for all manner of fresh veggies. Her kids were older but she wanted to introduce them to veggies (which they refused to touch) in much the same way. Hubby and I discussed it and are now planning menus that include a thick veggie based soup as a first course before the main event. Think carrot soup, leek soup, cauliflower soup, broccoli soup, turnip soup, ect with lots of fresh herbs and spices thrown in. I can make just enough so that everyone gets about 1/4 cup to a whole cup and that needs to be eaten first. A particular soup never appears more than once in the same week. There are usually veggies in the main dish too but this just adds another veggie opportunity and a way to sneak stuff in that they normally won’t eat. Such a simple yet brilliant idea and the book is full of great tips and ideas.
I highly recommend French Kids Eat Everything as leisure reading for the health minded but especially if you struggle with making sure your kids are eating a varied and balanced diet. Enjoy!
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, crossfit mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!