Vitamins and Immunity vs. Deficieny

It’s been on my heart to write so many articles lately! Hopefully I find the time to put head and heart together so I can share with all my loyal readers!

Today I want to talk about vitamins. Every year around the end of summer beginning of fall, I start seeing posts and articles about vitamins and immunity. Take “xyz vitamin” to fight off the flu or take “qrst vitamin” and you’ll never catch a cold again. Right!!?? We’ve all read or head someone say this. I CALL BULL! Taking a vitamin will not prevent you from getting sick. Activities such as hand washing and exposure to illness prevent you and your family from getting sick.

I can take multivitamins until the cows come home, but my husband (a physician) gets sick every year, and drags it home to us! It’s just the nature of the business.

BabyCrying-iStock

So, here’s why you should take a multivitamin:

Your diet! Most of us don’t eat as well as we claim to eat.  If your diet is less than stellar, a daily multi-vitamin is the most important supplement you should be taking. Even if you’re a perfectionist eater, factors like age and health conditions can prevent you from absorbing all the nutrients your body needs through food alone.

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When picking a vitamin, it’s important to pick one that actually works otherwise what’s the point. How do you know if your vitamin works? Vitamins don’t give us instant gratification, so it may take a month or so to see any difference.

First, are your hair, skin, and nails looking better? When I use a vitamin that works, my hair grows faster and my nails are thicker. Secondly, have your blood tested for vitamin deficiencies during your annual physical with your primary care physician. Blood work doesn’t usually lie. Finally, write down how you feel before starting a vitamin (fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches, moody, etc.) then review the list 60-90 days after starting your vitamin.

If you’re ready to start taking a daily vitamin (and you should be!),my favorite vitamin is X-factor.

X-factorNo, it’s not a game show hosted by Nick Cannon. It’s actually the only patented Aloe Vera blend vitamin on the market. The patented blend of aloe vera helps the body absorb more of the vitamin up to 400%. The vitamin also contains New Zealand Black Currant which offers a high degree of antioxidants, may help lower stress and increase mental alertness, supports a healthy immune system, and reduces muscle fatigue. In addition to these benefits, it also contains a full panel of vitamins we need daily.

Click here to see nutrition information.
Click here to see nutrition information.

 

If you’re ready to take your nutrition to the next level, try X-factor. For more information visit http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce or email JadaDanos@gmail.com

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/03/nutrient-deficiency-signs-symptoms.aspx

Beat the Post-holiday Bloat

Are your jeans a little snug today? You may be suffering from a term I call post holiday bloating. If you’re like me, you’ve spent the past few weeks at great parties with amazing friends and family eating too many carbohydrates and sweets and having one too many adult beverages. Sounds familiar?

All is not lost, here a few tips on how to beat the holiday bloat, and get back into those skinny jeans before you’re singing auld lang syne on New Years Eve.

Cut the carbohydrates.  Eating carbohydrates causes your body to retain water, which ultimately gives you a bloated feeling. Remember that not all carbohydrates are bad for you, and a portion of your dietary needs should come from carbohydrates. Choose wisely by selecting fruits, vegetables and ancient grains. Stay away from white bread, pastries, cereals, and rich past and rice meals.

Burn baby burn. If you’re in a part of the world with a milder climate, head outdoors for a brisk walk or run. If you live in cooler climate, do aerobics at home or hit the gym for a cardiovascular workout. Try to workout at an elevated heart rate for at least 30 minutes. Getting back into your normal workout routine (or choosing to start working out) will reduce the sluggish feeling you may have post-holiday. It will also feel great to sweat!

Go Green. I love cleansing with fresh green veggies. My favorites are kale and spinach . Pick your favorite green vegetables, add your favorite fruit, and blend it into a smoothie. Click here for an easy not so green smoothie, green smoothie recipe.

Drink water. Holiday meals contain a lot of sodium which leads to bloating. While you may not feel like drinking water, try to encourage yourself to have a glass every 3-4 hours. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Remember, your daily intake should be half of your weight in ounces.

Love your gut. Consider taking a daily probiotic with digestive enzymes to get your digestive system back on track after the holidays. There are many benefits associated with taking probiotics including assisting with weight loss, stimulating immune response, preventing infections, decreasing allergies, and increasing digestive health. My favorite probiotic is probio 5. To learn more about it click here.

 

 

Mexican Chicken Soup

I hope this soup is politically correct. I’m calling Mexican Chicken Soup because it calls for cumin (my favorite spice) and it is garnished with avocado. In my world, that’s enough to claim the title of “Mexican” cuisine, or at the very least Tex Mex…

Level: Beginner
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes

Here’s what you need…

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions and peppers (red, yellow, orange or green – pick your favorites)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper
4 cups of chicken broth (if using store bought, that’s great, but look for a low sodium, organic brand)
1 can or 2 cups (if doing homemade) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cumin
A few turns of your pepper mill (to taste)
2 cups of diced or shredded cooked chicken breasts

Garnishes: diced avocado, diced tomatoes, onions

Let’s cook…

Heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and peppers, and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes, you’ll know good things are happening when you start to small the garlic.

Add the homemade chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper, and bring to a slow boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer (medium/low) and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While this is cooking, it’s a great time to either put your boneless chicken breasts in the oven to bake, dice already precooked chicken (do not buy frozen precooked chicken or Tyson precooked chicken. I’m suggesting precooked chicken that you’ve cooked yourself), or debone a store bought whole rotisserie chicken.

Combine diced or shredded chicken, and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.

Ladle into a bowl, and serve with your favorite garnishes!

It’s really so ridiculously easy, and delicious on a cool night. Ole!

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For more information about eating clean or weight management, email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com

Get a jump start on your 2015 health goals, visit my website at http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce

Traveling Clean

I love taking trips, but I know it’s hard to stay disciplined when you’re not home and in your regular routine. Add the holidays to this equation, and your nutrition could get lost faster than luggage on a Delta flight.

Here’s my plan for traveling this holiday season:

Go Nuts. I love almonds, pecans and walnuts, so I plan to pack an assortment of dry roasted and raw nuts. You can usually find individually wrapped packages of nuts. Try to stay away from sweetened nuts.

Pack healthy snacks. My favorite snacks that travel well are Lara Bars, dried fruit and berries (my daughter loves this too), and Plexus 96 protein power (just add water when you’re ready). None of these items need refrigeration, and all will fit well in a suitcase.

Fruit (and veggies) first.  Many fast food restaurants, including Chick Fil A, McDonald’s and Subway, offer fruit as sides. When I’m dining out, I plan to order a side of vegetables with my meal, and stay away from “fried” sides.

Drink Up. I plan to continue to drink half my weight in ounces of water, even while traveling. For road trips, I usually pack a small ice chest, and fill it with water bottles. When flying, I will purchase a flat of water from a grocery store after my arrival. Also, it’s so easy to get caught up in the travel and holiday cheer and overindulge in alcoholic beverages. For each alcoholic drink consumed, I plan to drink a full 16 ounces of  water.

More tricks:

  • Pack a refillable water bottle if you don’t want to purchase a flat of water. I love the Bobble brand water bottles.
  • When eating out, try to fill your plate with a protein (meat or fish), 2 carbohydrates (vegetables or greens) and a healthy fat (olive oil on salad or avocado).
  • If your hotel has a gym on site, try to get a workout in – even if it’s just 30 minutes. If you’re staying with family, go for a walk in their neighborhood.
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!

To purchase Plexus 96 protein power, visit http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce

Happy Traveling!!

Eat Clean, Halloween!

Halloween is one of the most food challenging holidays because the entire holiday revolves around candy, treats, and sugar.

According to the Wall Street Journal, American’s spend about $2.6 billion on Halloween candy per year. Say What? That’s scary! If you were to average the amount of candy eaten among all Americans, it would come out to almost 4 pounds of candy per person during the Halloween season. That’s spooky!

So here are a few tricks I’m using to stay away from the treats while still enjoying the holiday!

1. Donate your candy to a local food bank or church. Call your local food bank or church and ask if they accept candy – most will as long as it is individually wrapped. While you’re in the spirit of donating, pick up a few canned goods and nonperishable items to include in your delivery.

2. Participate in the teal pumpkin project. The teal pumpkin project was created to raise awareness about childhood food allergies and encourage people to hand out non-food items. I think this is a great idea for children with or without food allergies!
Kids love trinkets too, so feel free to include non-food and allergy friendly options in your trick-r-treating baskets this year. Great ideas are bubbles, crayons, erasers, stickers, markers, or squeaky toys (all can be found at your local dollar store).

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3. If you’re having people over, make healthy treats and snacks for the kids (adults will enjoy them too!). I saw this treat at a recent Halloween party, and absolutely loved how cute it turned it!

Halloween Ghosts and Tangerine Pumpkins:

For the ghosts, you will need a bananas and mini chocolate chips. Peel and slice the bananas in half. Add mini chocolate chips for the ghost eyes and mouth.
For the tangerine pumpkins, you will need tangerines and celery. Peel the tangerines. Cut celery lengthwise, three times. Then cut across into small pieces (about 1 inch). Stick cut celery pieces in the center of the tangerine for the stalk.

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Halloween Deviled Eggs:

You’ll need 6 eggs, mustard, 1 small avocado (ripe), salt and pepper, paprika, green onion tops. Boil eggs until cooked (approximately 15 minutes). Allow to cool before pealing. Slice eggs in half, and scoop the yolk out. In a bowl, mix yolk, 1 tbsp mustard, 1 avocado and salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the cut egg. Garnish with paprika and green onion top for “pumpkins” or

64-Non-Candy-Halloween-Snack-Ideas-deviled-eggs

4. Allow yourself a treat, then move on! At the end of the day, it’s a holiday, and you want to enjoy it. If you find yourself eating all the candy, move on as quickly as possible, and start over with healthier options the next day. The easiest way to do that is to remove the temptation!

Happy Halloween!

Have your candy and eat it too! Try Block – it blocks and absorbs up to 50% of carbohydrates~ for more information visit http://www.plexusworldwide.com/jadabruce

Sources:
http://online.wsj.com/articles/parents-trick-children-out-of-halloween-candy-1414521981
http://www.aol.com/article/2014/10/29/why-teal-pumpkins-are-popping-up-eversywhere/20985592/
http://weelicious.com/2013/10/14/tangerine-pumpkins-banana-ghosts-fruity-halloween/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/halloween-candy-facts-statistics_n_1062687.html

Just Be Kind

 

I’m taking a break from my usual recipe sharing and sugar bashing, to make a response in regards to a growing amount of “fat shaming” taking place in our society. Yesterday, I read an appalling story about a woman who willingly gained 50 pounds to prove to all the “fat people” that they caused this themselves and that losing the weight is easy if they’d stop being lazy.

Seriously!

My opinion:
Wellness is a body, mind and spirit journey. Although someone may have the desire to lose weight and get healthier, I’ve noticed (in my own opinion) that people struggle most with weight loss when they can’t make the connection between body, mind and spirit.

First (the body):
Overweight does not equal not lazy.
I know some really hard-working overweight people. In fact, many of the hardworking people I know are overweight. Why is that? Generally, these people tend to take care of everyone else first, and have very little time or energy for themselves.

It’s not just about food.
Calories in, calories out; is completely outdated science when it comes to weight loss. For years, people were told expend more calories than they ate to lose weight. Hundreds of diets and weight loss companies were created around this idea. While that seems to make sense and in a perfect world it could work, there are several other factors to take into account including quality of calories ingested, hormones (major player), underlying health conditions and lifestyle.

Second (the mind):
Ditch skinny.
Get rid of the idea of skinny. Not everyone was intended was intended to have a size 26 waist or fit into a size 0, and that’s okay. Focus on what’s comfortable and healthy for you instead of trying to be something you think you should be.

The mind is an incredibly powerful thing – especially when it comes to wellness. What we believe about ourselves, we become. If an overweight person, is constantly told or shown images through media that depict overweight people as “less than” because of a stupid number on a stupid scale, at least on some subconscious level that person will begin to believe it about themselves.

Third (the spirit):
Be thankful for the gift of wellness, and handle it with care.
I believe that each and every person that reads this is called to a life of purpose. You have purpose and you are on this earth at this exact time for a reason. When we start to believe in that purpose, it becomes so much easier to put value on our life. Realize the value and blessing of having breath in your lungs, a heart that beats, the ability to move and walk, and be thankful for the gift of wellness. If you’re not well, find out what you can do now to improve your situation – whether it’s walking more or making better food choices. We were never intended to be enslaved to our situation.

On a personal note, I apologize if any of my posts have ever seemed like self-righteous, fat shaming. I hope to leave any person that reads my posts feeling encouraged and motivated. Everyone can do something to improve their wellness, even if it’s just a baby step. Make that first baby with an attitude of thankfulness knowing that you CAN live a life of wellness.

*To the person that gained 50 pounds to prove a really nasty point, maybe next time, just be kind and use your skill and expertise to encourage.

Questions and comments, email JadaDanos@Gmail.com

{My favorite things}

Let’s be real, sometimes you can’t get around buying prepackaged food. Life is busy, and I understand (and know) the need for a quick food fix. In a perfect world, we’d all live off the land, but it’s 2014, and most of us are grocery shopping.

If Oprah can have a list of favorites, I guess I can share my favorite “go to” items in a pinch. So while I’d love to slave over the stove for hours making the perfect pasta sauce (NOT!), sometimes the jar sauce is just fine. And although grinding almonds in a blender to make homemade nut butter seems fun, I think I’ll take a shortcut and get mind from the jar. Don’t get me wrong, I do love making things at home, but sometimes (as in most of the time) a girl just needs a quick fix.

*Disclaimer – I’ve read lots and lots of labels to come up with this list, but I urge you to do your own homework too.

These are a few of my favorite things:

(cue The Sound of Music):

Breakfast Meats:

I have eggs every morning for breakfast, and once in a while, I like to add a little extra protein in the form of a meat or (very) occasionally a scoop of Greek yogurt.

Brand: Oscar Meyer Nitrate/Nitrite free bacon
Pros: Available at Wal-Mart and most local grocers.
Cons: Are there any cons with bacon? I think not, I just don’t eat it everyday. It’s possible that the pigs may have been treated with antibiotics to control diseases or to speed up growth.

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Brand: Applegate (look for the low-sodium brand)
Pros: Available at Whole Foods and some local grocers. Applegate does not administer antibiotics to any of its livestock.
Cons: More expensive than Oscar Meyer, limited stores carry the products.

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Greek Yogurt:

Brand: Fage 2% Fat Plain
Pros: You can find a container at almost any grocery store. The yogurt is so creamy!
Cons: A medium-sized container will cost you about $4. If you buy flavored yogurt, there will be added sugar. Stick to the “plain” variety, and add your own toppings.

Deli Meats:

Brand: Applegate
Pros: The meat is nitrate and nitrite free. There are no added sugars, and there are several ham and turkey options available.  Overall, I think this is the best quality deli meat. Also, the meat is not slimy like other deli meats.
Cons: Based on volume, it may be more expensive that other deli meat, and not every store carries the brand.

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Pasta Sauce:

Pasta sauce is great to keep on hand for quick meals.

Brand: Sal & Judy’s Original Sauce
Pros: You can find it at Wal-Mart. It’s generally less than $5 per jar. There are only 2 grams of sugar, and there is no added sugar.
Cons: You may not be able to find it a grocery stores outside of southeast United States.

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Chicken and Beef Broth (look for the low sodium version)

I use chicken and beef broth in a lot of my cooking, but I don’t always have time to make my own. This is a great substitute.

Brand: The Fresh Market (store brand)
Pros: Cost, it’s usually around $2.99 for one quart container.
Cons: Fresh Market locations are generally limited to larger cities.

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Butter:

Brand: Amish Country Roll butter
Pros: I just found this butter a few weeks ago. It’s more flavorful that regular butter. Not confirmed, but I have read that the butter comes from grass-fed cows. Also, the roll is huge, and could probably last you a few months depending on how much butter you use for cooking.
Cons: Some associated grocer type stores will carry this item, but I’ve never seen it in a “big box” store.

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Nut Butter:

Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Pros: There are several flavor varieties available – I like the classic almond butter flavor best. It’s also available in big box retailers like Wal-Mart.
Cons: The nut butter can cost upwards of $6; however; depending on how much you eat, it may last a week or 2.

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Snack on the go:

Brand: Lara Bar (I like the Peanut Butter Cookie and the Blueberry Muffin flavors).
Pros: Non-gmo ingredients. No sugar added. Great grab and go snack if you don’t have a piece of fruit or veggies available.
Cons: The bars still have a high sugar content even though there is no added sugar.

To check out LaraBars visit http://www.larabar.com

Kid Snack on the go:

Brand: Brother’s All Natural Freeze Dried Fruit Crisps
Pros: There is no added sugar, no preservatives, no colorings and no flavor enhancements. They are also allergy friendly since it’s made with just fruit. Yay!
Con: The fruit is not certified organic.

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Protein Shakes:

I use protein shakes for snacks (occasionally), or when I’m in a rush in the morning.

Brand: Plexus 96
Pro: It comes in a travel packet, so you can take it with you, and fix it when you’re ready. There are only 96 calories in the shake (if mixed with water). There is no added sugar, and it’s sweetened with stevia.
Cons: If you have a dairy intolerance, there is whey isolate and concentrate in the drink.

You can easily order the protein by visiting this link http://jadabruce.myplexusproducts.com/products/plexus-96

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Brand: Now Egg White Protein Powder
Pro: The protein is sweetened with stevia. The main ingredient is egg white powder, so it’s great for people with milk allergies or intolerance.
Con: Not many stores carry it, but you can easily order online by visiting this link http://www.amazon.com/Now-Foods-Eggwhite-Protein-Vanilla/dp/B005551JXM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1412732697&sr=8-2&keywords=egg+white+protein+powder

Sweeteners:

I am very picky about sweeteners. While agave and honey are popular options, they are still converted to glucose in the body (sugar is sugar, right?). I prefer to use Stevia (which has actually been shown to stabilize blood glucose levels in some studies.)

Brand: Trader Joe’s Liquid or Powdered Stevia
Pros: $6.99 gets you 400+ servings.
Cons: you may not have a Trader Joe’s store in your area.

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If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, the NOW brand is just as good, and you can order it online here http://www.nowfoods.com/BetterStevia-Extract-Powder-1lb.htm.

Keep in mind that a little stevia goes a long way, proceed with caution.


 

When the dog bites, and the bee stings, and I’m too busy to remember what to do on the never ending “to do” list… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel  so bad!

(end Sound of Music)


 

I’d love to hear about your favorite food hacks that make life easier. Feel free to message me at JadaDanos@gmail.com

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. To find out how to get a free Breast Check kit, visit my website http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the great products.

Can you afford to eat healthier?

Everyone’s busy, and almost everyone is on a budget. Meals need to be cheap and fast, but when we eat cheap and fast foods – it’s often not the best option.

When I first started eating healthier, I would spend SO much money at the grocery store. Partially because I didn’t know how to shop and also because I didn’t have a plan. Can you relate? Do you find yourself running into your local health food store for just a few items, and $300 later, you’re scratching your head and wondering why you’re only walking out of the store with only 2 grocery bags?? That was me! I was so angry with myself, I’d drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream (not purchased from the health food store).

Eating healthy is expensive if: You do all of your shopping at Whole Foods (no hate against Whole Foods – I LOVE it, it’s just expensive!). You buy a lot of “healthy” prepackaged foods.  You buy a ton of “health” foods then drive through McDonald’s everyday. You don’t have a plan. You let the food go to waste.

Eating healthy is economical if: You have a plan. You cook your meals most of the time. You only buy what you need. You shop from your local grocer or farmer’s market.

I’d like to share with you how I’m able to feed my family on $100 per week. I know what you’re thinking… Yes, I only have a family of 3; however, out of the 21 meals eaten per week, my daughter and I eat 19 of those at home (plus snacks) and my husband eats 15 meals at home.

My challenge:

$100 for 1 week of healthy groceries.

Before going to the store:

Have a plan. Take a few minutes to scan cabinets and the refrigerator. Look for items that are running low or  items you have run out of (milk, butter, etc.) . Throw out anything that is old, rotten or expired.

Make a list. Attached is a list I use to get help with grocery shopping brainstorming. Grocery Shopping Condensed List

Plan a menu rough draft. Saving money requires some planning, but once you do it a few times, I promise it gets faster. I can usually prepare a menu and grocery list in about 20 minutes. When brainstorming a menu, think about a few things: How many things can you pre-cook for use later in the week? What will be good served as leftovers? What freezes well? How many servings will I need?

Sample Menu:

To see how I used my groceries, check out my one week menu plan.

1 week menu plan

* Only buy what you need for one week of meals, unless there is a great sale – then stock up if you know you will use it at a later date.

At the store:

Shop the perimeter as much as possible. The aisles are a distraction, and most of the unhealthy, processed foods are located down the aisle.

Stick to your list.  When I don’t stick to my list I spend more. For instance, my bill was $113 because I bought a snack for my daughter and my husband (which were not included on the menu this week).

Be quick. When I take a leisurely stroll through the store, I buy everything I see. Get in and get out!

Keep a rough running tally.  You don’t have to go through the store with a calculator, but keep a running tally in your mind. For instance, I know (roughly) 60% of my grocery budget will be spent on protein/fat (meat, eggs, nuts, butter/oils), 30% will be spent on veggies and fruit, and the rest will be spent on odds and ends (like new spices, dry beans, milk or an occasional canned item).

Don’t buy junk food. Although it may look cheaper, junk food has little to no nutritive value. This means, you’ll be wanting more soon after you eat it, which will make you buy more, and in the long run, I promise you are spending more money.

Go for whole foods. Do you know your food’s origin? I can look at a green bean and know it came from a bean stalk. If you look at an Oreo or a hot dog, can you clearly tell it’s origin?

Avoid frozen dinners. These are not healthy and full of sodium.

Buy organic (when you can): If you’re going to eat the leaves or the skin, buy organic. If you’re going to throw away the peeling, save your money. Stay away from preservatives, sugars and additives in all other items purchased.

When you get home:

Wash and pick up fruits and veggies. I store these in clear containers that are easy to see. If the veggies and fruits are in plain sight, I’m more likely to eat them.

Store meat that won’t be used within 3 days in the freezer. We have a 3 day rule in our house, some people choose to keep meat in the refrigerator longer with meat, and that’s okay 🙂 Do what works for you!

My grocery store loot!

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Notes and disclaimer:

I do not coupon! I wish I did, but I don’t. I have a difficult time finding coupons for whole food items. I occasionally use coupons for home goods.

I don’t always go to the same grocery store. I generally will go to the most conveniently located store with the best prices.

I prefer to get my produce from the local Farmer’s Market. Produce purchased directly from the grower is usually cheaper and lasts longer than produce purchased in grocery stores.

*One of my meals used shrimp. I purchase shrimp wholesale for $4 per pound.

** The “impulse purchases” added $10.41 cents to my bill, and I also purchased sponges for $1.95. Had I stuck to my list, my final total $100.64 – close enough~

*** The bananas and blueberries are my little girl’s “go to” snack foods.

**** All of the items in the picture correspond with my attached 1 week menu plan! 1 week menu plan

How much do you spend on groceries per week? I’d love to hear about it!!

Are you ready to jump start a health and wellness plan for your life? Click here!  for healthy weight loss, cleanses, vitamins, pain management and breast health products!

Questions or comments – email JadaDanos@gmail.com

Sources:

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-american-eating-habits

Cajun Tradition and a Roasted Dirty Bird

I’m cajun. Not the pretend kind of cajun that claims the heritage becuase they spell words like “go” with an “-eaux”. I’m the real deal – born and raised on Bayou Lafourche. I spent most of my childhood hating the place, but now that I’m grown and gone, I’m very nostalgic about certain things. In the Cajun tradition, three things are very important family, faith and food. They’re all intertwined and revolve around each other.

One of the most important traditions is what is known as “Sunday dinner.”

Growing up in our family,  this is what Sunday dinner was all about…

Every Sunday, after church, everyone gathered at Maw Maw’s house for lunch .  When you arrived, you were typically greeted with smells of gumbo roux, roast, fried chicken and cake. An average Sunday dinner consisted of gumbo and rice, roast or beef stew, fried or baked chicken, potato salad and cake (this is why it’s called Sunday dinner, you eat a noon, and are full until the next day.) You had to fill your plate with one of everything, and it was offensive if you only served yourself once. After lunch was family time, in the fall and winter we watched football, in the spring and summer we played outside before slipping into a carbohydrate/blood sugar coma.

This tradition is still preserved in my family. Almost every Sunday we gather at my mom’s house after church, we have lunch (albeit, a much smaller version of what Maw Maw used to cook), spend the afternoon together, enjoy each others company, and occasionally slip off into a carbohydrate coma – Sunday is most definitely cheat meal day.

Occasionally, I get to host Sunday dinner, and when I do, I like to try to impress my family. This past Sunday, I was lucky to host my brother and his lovely girlfriend, and in honor of the New Orleans Saints season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, we ate roasted dirty bird (turkey breast).

Here’s my recipe:

Citrus Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

1 turkey breast (thawed and sliced into cutlets). From a safety standpoint it is best to thaw turkey breast in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.

1 naval orange (sliced)

1 lemon (sliced)

2 -4 tablespoons of coconut oil, butter or ghee (depending on the size of the breast)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons all purpose seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash, but use whatever your family likes – rosemary is also very good!)

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic

Let’s cook:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a roasting pan, place the slices of orange and lemon on the bottom of the pan.

After the turkey breast is thawed and sliced, placed the slice of turkey on top of the citrus slices (you don’t have to be perfect, just lay them on top).

Melt butter, ghee or coconut oil. After melted, add olive olive, seasonings, and garlic. Stir to mix well.

With a basting brush, brush the turkey cutlets with the seasoning mixture – reserve any leftover mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip cutlets over, baste with any dripping and leftover seasoning mixture, and place pan back in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from oven. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature – which should be 165 degrees.

dirty bird

I’m really picky about turkey, because I often find it to be too dry for my liking. This turkey is not! It’s so yummy, and a great fall meal since citrus is in season.

We served the turkey with oven roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots and onions – all fall veggies) and salad.

Unfortunately the Saints lost, but the bird was good!

For questions or comments, please email JadaDanos@gmail.com

big FAT lie

I”m so over the “f” word getting a bad rap… Get your mind out the gutter, I’m talking about FAT.

For years I’ve consumed thinks like 1/3 fat cream cheese, low-fat milk, reduced fat salad dressing, reduced fat grains, and I shudder to think about the amount of margarine I’ve eaten in my short 29 years. I picked canola oil over butter. I ate chicken in place of steak. Heck, I even went the vegetarian route for a hot minute. All the while trying to figure out what is the best way to nourish this machine God gave me.

Then someone introduced me to a wonderful book by Gary Taubes PhD, titled “Why We Get Fat, and What to Do About It.” This book changed my entire thinking about nutrition and the garbage (literal and figurative) we’ve been fed since the 1950s.

Here’s a run down, then I want you to read it for yourself – don’t trust me, make your own conclusions!

In the 1950s a lovely little man by the name of Ancel Keys introduced what we now know as the “low-fat diet.” The long and short is, he conducted the largest nutritional study, of 7 countries  and 13,000 men. He concluded that eating fats (specifically saturated animal fat) leads to heart disease. His research was erroneous, but even still he was then appointed a position with the American Heart Association, and bing, bang, boom – some of the most recommended nutritional guidelines were born.

While low-fat isn’t necessarily bad (there are some bad fats including trans fats and vegetable oils), we’ve exploited this recommendation.  When fat is removed from foods, it is disgusting and flavorless, so naturally, a flavor replacement has to occur. Often this replacement is sugar, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or sugar substitutes.

So why are we still buying into the big fat lie?

Mainly, it’s been fed to us (pardon the pun) for so long, that we just accepted it. Secondly, food marketing! For many decades, commercials, packaging and weight loss programs touted the “low-fat” diet as a way to lose weight, and finally it was recommended by the American Heart Association to recommend low-fat diets. However, new research is coming out (article sourced below) about fat being our friend.

So how is fat our friend…

Our bodies need fat for the p of vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat is also great for your skin and your body uses it for fuel when you perform aerobic activity. It is also recommended by the USDA that we get 20%-35% of our nutrition from fat.

In parting, it may be best to think twice about those 100 calorie snack packs in exchange for a sliced avocado or tree nut. Please don’t buy margarine, and for the sake of Pete, order a steak every once in a while. Just remember that fat is not the “f” word. Our bodies need it. Our bodies don’t need prepackaged  junk foods.  I find that when I eat clean, whole, natural foods – the fat argument is a moot point. If we eat what God intends for us to eat and designed our bodies to eat, we could save a whole lot of time and money on pointless research and just live healthier lives.

*I have a challenge for my readers – next time you visit the grocery store, check the labels on a few “low-fat” or “non fat” foods, then notice the sugar content. If for some odd reason, the sugar content is 0g, look in the ingredients for hidden sugars and sugar alcohols.

Questions or comments email JadaDanos@gmail.com

I believe is the power of whole food nutrition, but I also supplement my diet. If you’re interested in learning more about supplements click here.

Articles used for this post about fat being our friend:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html?_r=0

http://authoritynutrition.com/11-biggest-lies-of-mainstream-nutrition/

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486

Taubes, PhD, Gary. “How We Get Fat and What to Do About It”

Other Sources used for this post:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/oils-why.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats