The folks at Zico sent me a case of their coconut water a few weeks back. I was excited to try some coconut water pre and post workout because it seems to be all the rage right now. Fitness bloggers are talking about it and pics of celebrities leaving the gym with a bottle or sippy box in their hand are everywhere. The protein bar thing didn’t work out so well when I decided to get in THAT fad but this seemed relatively harmless. Coconut water as it appears in these products is just the water found inside young coconuts and we love young coconuts here.
So why coconut water anyway? Well, it hydrates you amazingly well just like water but it has some flavor. It is low in calories, fat free, has as much potassium as a banana, and also has electrolytes like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. There is no added sugar either, which is awesome. In actually it is isn’t some miracle drink, just a good source of nutrients and hydration. Although coconut water can be used intravenously which is rather cool.
It is MUCH better IMO than a lot of sports drinks that are marketed to fitness enthusiasts. But is it better than water? My answer would have to be maybe. If you want the extra nutrients and you like the flavor then sure why not? My husband and I both decided, after working through our case, that we prefer water. The coconut water was tasty but it just didn’t satiate our thirst like good old fashioned water. My husband liked them a bit more than I did. In fact I really only liked the “plain” coconut water and would not drink the flavored ones. Of course that is when I was drinking them straight up.
I found that I MUCH prefer to put coconut water in green smoothies where that extra bit of sweetness is appreciated more. In fact I LOVED adding them to my daily smoothies, even the flavored ones. My smoothies are not very sweet. I can taste all the greens and veggies and most other family members do not much appreciate the smoothies I make for myself but adding the coconut water gave it an extra little kick that we all liked. I also liked that it upped the calorie content because sometimes it can be hard to get enough calories in when you are eating/drinking high raw AND exercising a lot.
The smoothie in the picture above is one quart of a two quart blender… 3 cups of collard greens, a banana, some frozen mango, two scoops of Vita Mineral Green, a couple teaspoons of chia seeds, and lime flavored coconut water. It is served as all my smoothies are, in wide mouth Ball jar with a glass straw. Yum!
So the million dollar question is… will we buy more? The answer is maybe. You can get them at Amazon for about $2.00 a bottle and that is a bit expensive when we prefer water. They also come in either non-recyclable boxes or recyclable plastic bottles. Yes, the bottles can be sent out for third party recycling but that is not a sure thing. I think if I got a good deal on them I would buy them now and again… as a treat for my green smoothies. :)
Healthy eating is such a subjective thing. Or is it? Everyone has their own ideas of what is healthy. Many swear by tofu and I think it is a bad idea. Others think that fat is the devil and I think no such thing. Can we ever agree? Well, I do happen to agree for the most part with Real Simple magazine’s list of 30 healthiest foods… not that they are the healthiest per say but it is a pretty good list of healthy foods. I thought it would be fun to go through their list and see how regularly my family is eating these foods.
1. Mushrooms – Eating these weekly. This week it was baby portabellas and oyster mushrooms.
2. Walnuts - Monthly at best. My kids eat them more than I do.
3. Peanut and Almond Butters – No peanut butter but we do have almond butter and sunflower seed butter. My kids eat some daily usually. I may have a spoonful once a week.
4. Quinoa – Used to eat this weekly but since going grain free I have eliminated it. I really miss it though!!!
5. Almonds – We used to make homemade almond milk several times a week but have fallen away from that now that we have local, fresh cow’s milk available to us. But we do have the almond butter.
6. Blueberries – Weekly. I put a small bit in our green smoothies and my 5 year old eats frozen blueberries like M&M’s. I had to go out this morning to buy some in fact, because I knew he would request them first thing. In the summer we will have fresh blueberry compote for breakfast a couple times a week.
7. Eggs – We eat about 2 dozen a week from our local farm delivery service. They are pastured eggs with deep orange yolks… yum!
8. Spinach – Weekly. I put at least a cup of spinach in our smoothies.
9. Wild Salmon – Yes, once a week usually.
10. Chicken Breast – Sometimes. Good on salads but I usually eat wings or drumsticks when I eat chicken, with the skin on.
11. Avocado – Not very often and in the summer only. My kids don’t like avocados much unless I mix it with cacao and make chocolate pudding. I want to eat more though.
12. Sweet Potatoes – Only in winter but we do have them a couple times a month during that time.
13. Barley – No
14. Whole Grain Pasta – No.
15. Oatmeal – No.
16. Skim Milk – Nope. I usually buy 2% or full fat. Unless it is in kefir or yogurt the kids are the only ones who drink it. Skim milk should not be on this list either.
17. Lentils – No, don’t like them much either.
18. Bulgar - Nope.
19. Sardines – On occasion.
20. Kiwi – A couple times a year maybe.
21. Olive Oil - Sometimes. We usually use coconut oil.
22. Kale – Weekly in smoothies. I alternate between kale, chard, collards, turnip greens, and wild greens.
23. Kidney Beans – No.
24. Chard – Weekly in smoothies.
25. Edaname – Nope.
26. Pumpkin – In the fall only.
27. Oranges – Weekly usually. The kids love them.
28. Non Fat Greek Yogurt – Yes to Greek yogurt, no to non-fat. I eat 2% or full fat Greek yogurt every single day, first thing in the morning. Once a week for my kids.
29. Broccoli - Weekly.
30. Black Beans – No.
I would add carrots, green beans, snow peas, more greens, blackberries, and coconut oil right off the top of my head.
How did you do? See anything you would remove from this? Or Add?
My “healthy diet” ideas are spread out among numerous ideologies and theories. I cherry pick things that I like and that work for me and drop the things that I don’t like. I like the WAPF ideas of a nourishing diet for the most part but I do not like their obsession with meat. Same thing for primal eaters but I do like the primal practice of minimizing grains. I prefer a vegetarian diet but not so much the fact that LOTS of vegetarians could actually be called grainarians. Living off pasta, bread, and rice is not healthy in my opinion. I ended up deciding that for me the best diet is a nourished vegetarian diet with little in the way of grains and lots in the way of raw foods and greens (ala Crazy, Sexy, Diet). The chief way I choose to eat lots of greens is via green smoothies. I drink 2 quarts per day, minimum, loaded with things like spinach, collard greens, turnip or beet greens, parsley, mustard greens, wheatgrass, or wild greens like dandelion. Greens have a lot of the nutrients that WAPF enthusiasts claim they need meat for but when you drink 3-4 cups of greens in one sitting you are getting tons of those nutrients. You are also ingesting ALKALINE foods.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 I moved from Ohio to Arizona so I could go to one of the best doctors in the country. His treatment is a mix of conventional and non-conventional and he encourages diet and other alternatives as methods of cure as well. One of the first things he told me was to stop to eating meat and dairy. The reason? They encourage acidity in the body and cancer cells LOVE acid environments. Meat and dairy would in fact contribute to an environment that makes cancer very happy. Later on a I read several books that backed him up and one of those is The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health.
It is a very eye opening book and shows with perfect clarity why a diet based upon acid foods like meat and dairy are NOT a good idea. Of course this is not to say that you cannot ever eat these things but the typical person is not striking a balance between acidic and alkaline foods. The book goes into the exact things that happen when our body is too acidic… it is like giving your cells and acid bath and giving a place for things like Candida (yeast) a place to thrive.
In all honesty the diet at the back of the book is quite radical and there is NO way I could live on it long term. Cold cucumber, avocado soup in the morning doesn’t sound yummy. But thanks to pioneers in the raw foods movement I can drink my green smoothies in addition to other greens and veggies throughout the day and strike a good balance. Or so I hope. ;)
This book inspired me to get some pH testing strips to test my pH daily to see how I am doing. I also got some pH booster drops to add to my water. Eventually though that became cost prohibitive and I got an Alkamate, portable alkazing water bottle instead. LOVE it! One of the first reviews on that page was from someone who claimed they were to acidic and were getting hives. Ironically I get hives when I stop drinking my smoothies and let my diet get out of whack. I have never been able to explain way they come on but perhaps it too has to do with my pH. After filtering my tap I now add the pH drops and some lemon for the ultimate alkaline water. I have already seen a difference, especially in my skin. This month my period crept up on me and caught me by surprise. My skin usually gets oily and a just a bit blotchy a couple days before that time of month but this go round… nada. If the outside cells of my skin react this way to a more alkaline environment I can only assume the inside cells are swimming around in joy.
Do you know what your pH is?
Have you ever looked at the traditional food pyramid and thought, “Ugh, there’s no way I can eat that many fruits and veggies?” If you have, you are probably not alone. I aim for 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day and usually it isn’t that hard… you just need to get a bit creative. Instead of deciding that you need to eat steamed brussel sprouts with every meal you need to find ways to incorporate these foods that are so easy you barely think about it. Its not so impossible when you are really enjoying your food and barely notice that GASP.. you are eating VEGGIES! Here are seven ways to add vegetables into your diet. Some might be obvious and some you might not have tried.
#1 Add them to your eggs. Oh yes… the veggie omelet! Spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, even asparagus and a whole number of vegetables taste absolutely fantastic with eggs. Scramble them up for a healthy breakfast or serve them in an omelet. You can get up to two servings of vegetables taken care of right off the bat. Plus, if you are eating away from home there are many restaurants that make delicious veggie omelets.
#2 Add them to your sandwich. Add tomato to tuna or egg sandwiches. Add guacamole to your turkey sandwich instead of mayo and you have a serving of vegetables. Add a slice of lettuce and a tomato to sandwiches and burgers or try a veggie sub. These are one of my faves… a sub with spinach, butter lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, cheese, and oil & vinegar. Yum!
#3 Grab a veggie drink. Green Smoothies are so tasty and you don’t even notice the veggies. I get at least 2 servings of dark leafy greens every time I drink one.
#4 Precut veggies and make them easy to snack on. Carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli and a number of other vegetables are easy to prepare in advance. Grab your favorite dip or hummus and snack on vegetables when you’re at work or just sitting in front of the television. Put em on the table front and center and kids will grab them when they walk by too.
#5 Eat a salad a day. It’s easy to make sure you eat a salad at lunch or dinner and one salad can provide two servings of vegetables. If you add a bit of protein to the salad like chicken, tofu, beans, nuts, turkey or eggs then you have a complete meal. You can even get really inventive with your salads.. Italian Bean and Tomato Salad or Berried Avocado Grapefruit Salad. Try 365 Salad Recipes for ideas.
#6 Puree vegetables and add them to sauces and baked goods. You’d be surprised what you can do with a pureed vegetable. The Sneaky Chef addresses this. Pureed cauliflower can be added to mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese and you can puree squash and add it to a number of soups and sauces.
#7 Eat vegetable soups and use veggie based sauces. Vegetable soups are very satisfying and they can provide you with a serving or more of vegetables. When I make sweet and sour soup for instance, I usually add tons of snow peas and mushrooms. For even more nutrition make sure the soup is made with a vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken. You can even make your own vegetable broth with veggies that are looking sad. Sauces can be made from squash, tomatoes and herbs like basil for a tasty pasta topping.
When you take a look at all the tips and tricks you have available, eating five or more servings of vegetables each day isn’t that tough. Make it easier on yourself and make eating vegetables convenient and easy. Think ahead, make sure you and your family have plenty of easy to access vegetable options, including frozen vegetables, and have fun with it. Vegetables can and do taste good and they’re good for you.
One of the first places I head to in my local thrift store is the glassware section. It is not uncommon for me to buy up all the mason jars or other glass jars they have. I like ones with lids (as long as they don’t have mold or rust) but I will buy ones without lids as well because they are one of my favorite storage containers. I rarely buy anything from the store that comes in jars like these (spaghetti sauce, pickles) so I have to get mine second hand.
Last year I wrote about 10 Ways to Reuse a Glass Jar and I was inspired today to write about 10 MORE ways to reuse and repurpose glass jars cause I just LOVE them!
1. Drink out of them – I drink my green smoothies out of them and because they are often rimmed or bent I use a glass straw as well. My husband drinks iced coffee and tea out of them too. They are the first drink glasses we will go for. I steal the smaller chipped ham glass jars that my dad buys and those are the kids glasses. It was those chipped ham jars that I drank from every summer when I stayed with my grandma. She was the queen of thrift and managed to save over a million dollars during her working years, while employed at a factory. Every time I drink some OJ from a chipped ham jar I think of it as a frugal luxury.
2. Collection Jars – Glass jars are great places to put marbles, buttons, sewing notions, stickers, shiny rocks, pretty baubles or anything you or your kids like to collect. Not only do they store the items for you, they display them nicely for you. There is a lady down the street from me who put 3 shelves inside the window sills of her windows and on them she displays glass jars filled with various treasures. Every time I pass by her house I have to look!
Photo by alexkerhead
3. Dried Beans, Nuts, and Seeds – Instead of buying glass jars from Wal-Mart or some other store I just put old ones to work for storing dried beans on my counter top. I use jars in the refrigerator and freezer for raw nuts and seeds too. You could also use them for flour, spices, or virtually anything.
4. Specimen Jars – If you homeschool or just enjoy home education projects then glass jars make great specimen jars. You can put herbs, leaves, bugs, cocoons, or other objects of interest and then line them up for your kids to identify and study. The bottom can be labeled with the name of the specimen so they can check their work. They can be reused every week with new specimens to encourage your little scientists and nature lovers.
5. Nut Butters – The great thing about having a food processor or a Vita-Mix (which I have) you can make your own nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter. Glass jars are a great place to store them.
6. Snack Jars – When your kids get home from school you can whip out a couple jars filled with grapes, nuts, raw cookies, and dehydrated fruit in jars. It makes them feel special to have all these options to presented to them in a pretty way and they know exactly what they can snack on when they get home without ransacking through the frig and pantry, or maybe its just my kids that do that!
7. Paint Brush holder – All our paintbrushes are stored in a glass jar so that if the kids don’t bother to clean them afterwards there is no large mess to clean up.. I just rinse the jar out when it needs it. I use candle jars from the thrift store for the wet paint. You can also use a glass for holding straws, pens, pencils.. you name it.
8. Fermentation – Jars are awesome for your sour dough starters, Kombucha tea, and homemade vinegar.
9. A hanging lantern – In one of MaryJane Butter’s books (I can’t recall which at the moment) there are instructions for using glass jars and the lids to make a hanging lantern using a chain and a candle. They would be perfect for eating outside in the summer and if you put a citronella candle in them you could keep the bugs away too. The ones in the book are absolutely lovely.
10. Voodoo Jars – This is probably geared towards Halloween but I just love it. You put scary little items in the jars.. like eyeballs or those little babies like you get in the King Cakes at Mardi Gras (been years since I had some King cake!) and then you color the water and make it look like you have been conducting “evil experiments”. Muhaaawa! Plus you can probably get most of the stuff at your local thrift store so you don’t have to buy new.
How do YOU use glass jars?
Photo by revjim5000