Saturday, September 29, 2012

Food Dyes are EVERYWHERE

So after my post about being fooled by labels, I've been scouring the house looking for other items that contain dyes. Holy moly, they are everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

I continue to be shocked and annoyed at all the things dyes are in. Did you know that there is dye in your pre-made pie crusts in the grocery store? Yep, of all places. I guess it's to make it that pretty 'crust' color? Whatever.

You know what else? I'm starting to wonder if our oldest boy is sensitive to these dyes. (I can just see the group sigh and eye roll by certain members of my family.)

I'm not a doctor, and I'm not trying to diagnose him with any type of disorder/issue/problem. I'm also certainly not trying to get out of parenting him because sometimes it's really hard and I want to categorize him and excuse his behavior. Nope, not at all.

Our oldest is active, active, active. He's resistant to sleep. He can be whiny. He can be mean. He can drive me nuts.

Now, let me say this. He's an almost four year old boy. I fully understand that those traits are normal for a child this young. And if he didn't display those behaviors at times, I'd be worried.

However, we've noticed that after he eats certain things, like processed foods, or a lot of sugar, these 'traits' seem to come out more.

For example, recently after he had a smoothie made from yogurt with Red 40 and 15g of sugar he was off the wall. I know my child. It wasn't late in the day. He was rested. He just started acting like a crazy person. Hitting his brother (unprovoked), slamming toys into the wall, cabinets, floor. Jumping off his bookshelves. Not his normal active behavior.

So we are embarking on a mission to get rid of the dyes in their foods. Because, why not? We are really just concerned for the health and well-being of our kids. We don't see any reason for giving them food, drinks, or anything else that has unnecessary ingredients in them. Because, besides color, what is the point? Our food and baby wash really just doesn't need to be fun, exciting, and colorful all the time, does it?

Check out this interesting chart from the Feingold Association.  For me personally, it's gross to see all the additive, preservatives, and dyes that are added to our foods.
What the child growing up in the U.S. in the 1940's got:
What the child growing up in the U.S. today gets:
White toothpaste Multi-colored toothpaste, perhaps with sparkles
Oatmeal Sea Treasures Instant Oatmeal (turns milk blue)
Corn flakes Fruity Pebbles
Toast & butter, jam Pop Tarts
Cocoa made with natural ingredients Cocoa made with artificial flavoring, & some with dyes.
Whipped cream Cool Whip
No vitamins (or perhaps cod liver oil) Flintstone vitamins with coloring & flavoring
White powder or bad-tasting liquid medicine Bright pink, bubble-gum flavored chewable or liquid medicine
Sample school lunch:
Meat loaf, freshly made mashed potatoes, vegetable. Milk, cupcake made from scratch.
Sample school lunch:
Highly processed foods loaded with synthetic additives, no vegetable. Chocolate milk with artificial flavor.
Sample school beverage:
Water from the drinking fountain
Sample school beverage:
Soft drink with artificial color, flavor, caffeine, aspartame, etc.
Candy in the classroom a few times a year at class parties. Candy (with synthetic additives) given frequently.

Let me say this: I grew up on a lot of these foods. Heck, sometimes we even buy them. I do love some Fruity Pebbles every now and then. But I know that if I eat too much of those kinds of foods, I feel gross. I feel bloated, my stomach hurts, I get a little cranky. I'm not talking about gorging myself on them. But if I have Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, a soda at lunch, and then maybe a processed dessert in the evening, then I go to bed miserable.

So why wouldn't if affect my kids, too?

Here's another very interesting article from Allergy Kids about one mom's experience with food dyes.

What do you think about all this? Do you think sensitivity/allergies to food dyes is a bunch of junk? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---
I should be a case study in how lack of sleep affects your brain. Anyone else seem to walk around the house in circles when they're exhausted?
--- 2 ---
I have finally accepted that I'm not a domestic diva. I can do laundry like no one's business, but I cannot cook. In fact, food scares me. I just shut down at the thought of cooking for my family.
--- 3 ---
I always laugh at people who break out their warm boots, hoodies and long sleeves when we have 2 'cool' days. It's Texas ya'll. There's a good chance it's still going to be 95 degrees come Thanksgiving. If you want seasons, move up north. The high yesterday was 95 degrees. Case in point.
--- 4 ---
I get all self-conscious when I drop my boy off at preschool twice a week. The mommies are beautiful and drive big Tahoe's or Escalades. And I show up in my pseudo-minivan and clothes that are 5 years old because we can't afford anything new. Flashback to middle school. Gah.
--- 5 ---
Living paycheck to paycheck sucks. We've been doing it for FOUR YEARS. Nuff said.
--- 6 ---
My awesome hubby just showed up with a yummo sandwich for me. For ME. I don't have to share one bit of it with my kids! I heart him!
--- 7 ---
In less than two weeks, hubs and I will have exactly 36 hours to ourselves in San Antonio! Without kids! It's been THREE years since we've had even one night to ourselves. I'm sure we'll be spending 24 of those hours sleeping! :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Vitamins and Supplements

A blog I LOVE and read regularly recently posted about why she and her family don't take vitamins or supplements. It was so interesting to read her reasoning and the comments to her post. Some people were pretty annoyed with her, others supportive, others even tried to promote their own businesses by sharing why their vitamins were superior. (Okaaay).

Her families reasons for not taking vitamins or supplements is because they 1) believe the real, clean foods they eat provide the nutrients they need every day and 2) they don't want to pay for the vitamins.

You know what? I can definitely see her point! Obviously supplementing your diet is a personal choice, and she feels that they don't need them. Great for her and her family!

I believe my family needs to supplement with vitamins. We try very hard to eat real, clean food on a daily basis. But, we don't always make it. And we're ok with that. We do our best and move on.

We have a very picky 3 3/4 year old boy who eats like a bird (like his mommy). He's not a good veggie eater, he's not a good protein eater (how can a child of mine not like peanut butter?? or chicken nuggets??).

Because of his pickiness, we give him a daily multi.  It's one of the few multi's that doesn't have added sugar or food dyes. It has all the extra calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D that he's probably not getting through food. We also give him a DHA supplement which has omega-3 fatty acids. Again, he's not getting it through food, so we feel we need to supplement. Maybe when he's older and hopefully not so picky, we won't need the supplements. Maybe not.

As for me and my husband, again, since we don't always eat clean (heck, sometimes I don't get to eat regular meals because I'm chasing after my boys all day long), we've decided to take multi's too.

What do you think about supplementing? Does your family take vitamins? Do you think they're a waste of money?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fooled by Labels Again!

 As my husband and I are becoming more aware of what's in our foods and other products, like lotions, other toiletries, medicines, etc, I've become increasingly annoyed at how much garbage is in everything!

OK, so I'm probably several years late joining the non-toxic, chemical free train, but better late than never, right?

I try to carefully read labels and not buy products that have...well ingredients that don't add value to the product.

And I just don't get why companies put ingredients in their products that have been proven harmful or unnecessary. I was reading the label on our Johnson and Johnson baby wash and there are parabens and, wait for it, Red 40 in there. Seriously? Dye in body wash for kids? It's SOAP for crying out loud. It goes directly from the bottle to my hand to my child's body.  It doesn't need to be colorful.

I have purchased J&J for four years because I assumed it was kid-safe, healthy, etc.  I mean, it's tear free, it's specifically for kids, so it must be ok, right?  Fooled by the label! 

I bought some Musselmans Natural Applesauce a few weeks ago, again thinking, "It's Musselmans, it's natural, it's healthy, it's fine." Upon reading the ingredients, I saw that HFCS is added to the applesauce. What? Come ON! Applesauce is sweet already, it doesn't need to taste like candy people! Why is this unnecessary ingredient added to my child's food? Fooled by the label! 

So now I'm on a mission to check labels in our home and get rid of the items that have junk in them. It's going to be a lot of tossing, I'm sure. It's going to be a frustrating process...that's a fact. I can only imagine how many items I have in our home that fooled me by their labels.

So tell me, have you been fooled by labels? Please tell me I'm not the only one?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vitalizer Takes the Guesswork out of Supplementation

For those of you that take vitamins and supplements, you may be like me and get seriously confused as to what to take, how much, when, why, etc. It makes my head spin. Then the cost of all these supplements makes my bank account start throwing alarm bells.


Yes, yes, you're getting ready to read a plug for Shaklee's Vitalizer. Hear me out though. Please?

Vitalizer is the most advanced multinutrient supplement pack in the marketplace today. It includes Vita-Lea multivitamin, omega-3's, phytonutrients, probiotics, and much more. Vitalizer is the first step toward an optimal nutritional foundation with 80 bio-optimized nutrients in ONE DAILY SERVING strip.

Did you read that? ONE DAILY SERVING strip. Not 15 different vitamins, not 15 different bottles strewn about, not taken at various times of the day. How convenient is that?

This chart shows what you would have to eat to get the same amount in one daily serving of Vitalizer. Oh my gosh, I like to eat, but that's a lot of food.

OK, looks great right? I know what you're thinking. How much is it? As a Shaklee member it's $79.25 per month.

Hold your horses. I know it sounds expensive, but check this out.

Here's a line-by-line label comparison of vitamins from Walgreens and GNC vs. Shaklee Vitalizer with Iron. All comparisons were done online in 2012. To get the same amount of vitamins and minerals found in one 30 day supply of Vitalizer, here's what you'd have to buy:

Walgreens - 30 Day Supply

  • Centrum Performance Multivitamin: $11.99 x 4 bottles
  • MegaRed Omega Fish Oil: $29.99 x 2 bottles
  • Naturemade Probiotic: $11.49 x 1 bottle

Total Cost: $119.43

GNC - 30 Day Supply

  • Women's Ultramega: $39.99 x 1 bottle
  • Triple Strength Fish Oil: $38.99 x 1 bottle
  • Ultra Probiotic: $39.99 x 1 bottle

Total Cost: $118.97

Shaklee 30 Day Supply
Vitalizer with Iron: $79.25 member price. Get an additional 10% off on monthly autoship.

So that's about a $40 per month difference!

Or if you're a big coffee drinker and want to compare it this costs about $2.64 per day to be healthy and well. Can you get your large coffee for that much every day? Hmmm...

OK, I want you to be healthy. You're WORTH IT! Trying Vitalizer is risk-free. If you try a full 30 day supply and are not happy with how you feel, I will give your money back! No questions, no problems!

Would you be interested in getting your life healthy and happy?  Don't think Vitalizer is right for you? No problem! Contact me and I can put together a great supplement plan for you!

What's for Dinner? Eggplant Caponata

So Eggplant Caponata is pretty much the only thing I can cook and not screw up. If you know me, you know that I can easily mess up toast. It's pathetic.

But Eggplant Caponata is so easy, that it's virtually screw up-less.

I'd never heard of it before until my sweet friend brought it over for dinner right after baby #2 was born. We fell in love with it and make it several times a month.

It's super healthy and so filling! We like to serve it over herbed couscous. Yum!

Here's the recipe...let me know if you try it how you like it!

Eggplant Caponata

A couple tablespoons over EVOO in a large pot. In that pot add:
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

Let them saute for a few minutes.

Then, chop and add the following to the pot:
1 red bell pepper
1 Anaheim pepper
1 medium eggplant
A few handfuls of golden raisins
1/2 c coarsely chopped green olives
1/2 c coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
2 oz capers, drained
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Once everything is in the pot, stir it up, cover and let simmer for about 15 min or until the eggplant is soft but not mushy.

Serve over couscous or polenta!

This freezes well too!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Green Cleaning Saves Money

OK, so maybe 'going green' isn't for you, but I'm certain that saving green is!

As you well know, we have Shaklee-ized our home over the past few months. That means we've gotten rid of all the toxic cleaning products and replaced them with Shaklee's Always Safe, Always Works, and Always Clean Get Clean Products.

Here's a quick run down on the Get Clean line:
  • Natural and naturally derived ingredients from sustainable sources
  • Packaging is free of bisphenol-A, phthalates, and toxic inks
  • Biodegradable surfactants
  • Recyclable packaging, wipes, and dryer sheets
  • No chlorine bleach, phosphates, nitrates, or borates
  • Concentrated products save energy, eliminate excess packaging

Like I said above, going green may not be your thing, you might not care about just want something that works, right? How about something that works and is cost effective?

This 16 oz bottle of Basic H concentrate is $12.15 retail, or $10.35 if you're a Shaklee member.

One 16 oz bottle of Mrs. Meyers counter spray ranges from $5-$7.
  • Think about it. How often do you use clean your counters? If you're at my house, you'll clean them a minimum of 5 times per day. Minimum. I go through a 16 oz bottle of spray every week. If I were to buy Mrs. Meyers, I'd be spending anywhere from $20-$30 per month on counter spray!

I've had this bottle of Basic H concentrate since April. See how much I've used so far? (I know, it's hard to see, but it's there!) Not much. Why? Because it's a concentrate. All I need is 1/4 teaspoon per 16 oz of water and I've got a full bottle ready to tackle my kitchen!

So the proof is in the pricing, right?

If you want some more information, check out this handy dandy cost comparison chart that shows you just how much you spend on other conventional cleaning products.

So tell me, based on the information above, would you consider switching brands?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cinch it Up!

I drink our Cinch Chocolate Shake mix several times per week to replace a meal here and there. For me, it's not about losing weight, it's more about being super busy with two little's who rarely let me sit down for a meal. So the Cinch Shakes provide a meal in a glass. I can mix it up and drink one in the car on the way to preschool.

I was talking to another Cincher who told me she puts lowfat flavored  yogurt in her shakes. Um, YUM! Adding yogurt gives them some more thickness so it tastes like a real shake, not chocolate milk!

Here are a few recipes for you to try!

What are your favorite Cinch Shake recipes?

Use 2 scoops of mix, 1 cup of ice, 1/4 cup of water, and a 6 oz container of yogurt.
  • Boston Cream Pie Shake - Boston Creem Pie yogurt
  • Cherries Jubliee - Cherry Orchard yogurt
  • Chocolate covered blueberries -  Blueberry yogurt
  • Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake shake - Strawberry Cheesecake yogurt
  • Chocolate Raspberry shake - Chocolate Raspberry yogurt

Disclaimer: I use these recipes because I enjoy the taste. I do not know the caloric value of each shake when using low fat or light yogurt in the place of milk, soy milk, etc. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's for Dinner - Veggie Tacos!

My sweet hubs, Matt, is seriously the best cook EVER. I'm not kidding. Family and friends who've eaten his meals will all agree. I'm a very lucky girl, because I despise cooking. I'm not good at it at all. I think it's partly because I really don't care about food. I eat (mostly) because I have to. If left to my own devices, I would eat cereal, yogurt, and PB&J sandwiches everyday. But if Matt's cooking, then I'll eat!

The past few months we've been eating grilled veggies several times a week. We (I mean Matt) grills up some zucchini from our garden, eggplant, bell peppers, red onion, and carrots. He makes a super yummy marinade for the veggies, pops them on the grill, and we've got a healthy, satisfying dinner!

Last week, he decided to kick it up a notch and make some ah-mazing veggies tacos. He grilled aforementioned veggies, made some sweet potato fries, whipped up a tasty sauce, and put it all on a homemade tortilla from Central Market.

Oh, my goodness. They are so, so yummy!

Here's the pics of the yummy goodness, followed by his recipe. I really want him to write a cookbook. It would totally sell. Anyone know how to get something like that started?


Veggie Tacos
Eggplant sliced thick, otherwise it will be mushy
Red onion
Or, any other veggies you like on the grill!
Veggie Marinade (recipe below)
Sweet potato fries (homemade or frozen...your choice!)
Taco Sauce (recipe below)

Marinade for Veggies
1/3 C dark soy sauce
2 T honey
2 T cane syrup
1 teas chili sauce

Mix these ingredients, then add the following:
1/3 C (to start) canola oil.
Using a whisk, drizzle the canola oil into the mixture.  Whisk until the oil emulsifies and thickens. Add up to an extra 1/4 C if necessary.

1/2 teas sesame seed oil.

Pour mixture into large lidded container or plastic bag, add veggies (except sweet potatoes) and give them a good mix. The marinade just needs to cover the veggies, you don't need to let them sit for any length of time.

Taco Sauce
Chipolte chili pepper sauce (from canned chipolte chili's)
Fresh lime juice
1/4 c mayonaisse
1/2 clove fresh minced garlic
A few pinches of smoked paprika

Mix all ingredients to taste.

Place veggies on grill and cook to desired doneness.

Chop veggies to desired size and add to warm tortillas, drizzle on some yummy taco sauce, and ENJOY!

Let me know how you like them! We hope you love them as much as we do!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Testimony Tuesday (On Wednesday)

Well, it's definitely been awhile since I've posted some Shaklee testimonies! If you keep up with my other blog, I'm sure you understand why. :)

Here's a great testimony from a client who suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I know some people who suffer from this chronic, annoying issue...I hope they're reading!

Having IBS has caused many uncomfortable and painful years of my life. I have taken prescription medication for years and have watched my diet. Just aber using the Shaklee Optiflora for 1 month, I could physically feel the difference. No more severe stomach cramps or IBS symptoms. At first I thought it was just a coincidence but then the true test came with a few bouts of extremely stressful situations. My IBS was unaffected. I am so pleased with this product! Anyone experiencing IBS should give this product a try YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! 

Thanks for sharing Marla! So glad you're feeling better!

Pre and probiotics can help you with just more than IBS. They help  promoted the growth of healthy microflora that's naturally found in the colon. To make it short...your gut is pretty much where all the action starts in regards to your health. If your gut is happy and healthy, then the rest of you will be happy and healthy!

Our oldest son (3 1/2) has always had a bit of a weak stomach. For about a year, he got a stomach virus every 5-6 weeks. It was awful...AWFUL! Seeing your little one vomiting and feeling awful, but not being able to articulate what would help him feel better is so, so hard. After dealing with this for far too long, we finally put him on the probiotic system and it has helped improve his gut so much! Some people balk at the monthly price of probiotics, but really, it's not very expensive if it means your little one (or you for that matter!) gets sick less often, no doctor copays, and no missed days of work!