The kids helped me go through the pantry this weekend and we threw away things that we just don’t use anymore. This huge tub of sugar was one of them. I didn’t even know we still had this! Yes, I’m just that organized.
It was killing Tate that we weren’t having more fun getting rid of the sugar so, he just had to intervene…
So to be honest, I’m not sure where to start on this post. Everyone that knows me well, knows that I limit the sugar my kids eat. Now I’m not a super strict mom that says we can’t ever have any (it’s just not plausible in the world we live in with birthday parties, etc.), and I don’t want them to feel deprived, but I do have my reasons for limiting their intake.
There is absolutely nothing that our bodies gain from sugar when consuming it other than (note that this is a very condensed list):
Decreasing our immune system
Making us acidic (more to come on alkaline vs acidic) which can cause a host of health issues
Causing a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children
Causing hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
Worsening symptoms of ADHD in kids that have it
Causing a possible deficiency in chromium, copper, calcium, magnesium and potassium
Increasing insulin levels, which causes the body to store excess carbs as fat and can cause obesity
Possibly causing any of the following: asthma, arthritis, heart disease, depression, digestion issues, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and/or diabetes. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. Let me repeat that a little louder. 1 in 3 will get diabetes.
And it’s totally addictive!
Sugar can adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders. In a research study at Yale, they learned that ”children’s adrenalin was raised to over five times their normal level for up to five hours afterwards. Most of these children had difficulty concentrating and were anxious and irritable.”
There was another study at a juvenile rehabilitation camp. When the children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% positive change in behavior. I could go on and on with these studies, but you get the point.
My kids (and I think most are) are sensitive to sugar and I certainly can tell when they have had it. They are irritable, moody, very sensitive, lethargic, can’t concentrate well, and not to mention, healthy food just doesn’t appeal to them. Understandably…we’ve changed their taste buds. Just a few more reasons to avoid it. Oh, and be careful because it’s in just about everything!
There are a number of books available on the subject, but perhaps one of the most interesting ones is “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty. Another great book on sugar and other important nutrition issues is “Nourshing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. I am a big fan of hers!
The best gift I ever got my husband was a Big Green Egg. He loves that thing more than anything. And l love him cooking on it, so it was a total win-win. Anyway, he’s become quite the aficionado, but his flank steak tacos are by far his best. Just ask the neighbors about our bi-annual street cookout. It’s a favorite! The salsa and steak is so flavorful. The kids and I love it, even without the corn tortilla on ours.
Flank Steak Tacos with Mango Salsa
2 lbs bison flank steak (Whole Foods has a good array of flank steak)
Put in a bag and marinate (for at least 1 hour). Add 1 tbsp chopped garlic, some sherry cooking wine (about 1/4 cup), juice from 2 limes, some olive oil (about 1/4 cup), and 1 tsp Celtic or Himalayan sea salt. Sorry for all the “about”s, but this is my husband’s recipe after all.
Grill it by searing it on each side for 3-4 minutes. You can always cook this on the stove too if you aren’t up for grilling. I know I never am!
For the salsa, cut up a fresh mango (buy a few days before you actually need it so it will have time to ripen), purple onion, cilantro, and squeeze juice from 1 lime.
Optional: put on a corn tortilla, if you wish, and add avocado, tomatoes, cheese (if desired). Scott usually grills his corn tortillas with cheese on them. Enjoy!
Worms! They are great protein and live in the soil which is chock full of healthy minerals. Add a little almond flour and coconut oil and you’ve got yourself a great snack!
Okay, okay, I’m kidding. I might be crazy, but I’m not that crazy. This was just a fun excuse to post a picture of my little man, and do something different. Too bad it’s not April 1st. This would have made for a good post, huh?
So I made these vegan peanut butter cookies for the kids today for the first time. Knowing I don’t really care for peanut butter, nor do I eat it (it’s not Paleo), I figured I was safe. Well, after a long afternoon with the smell in the house, I thought, okay, I’ll just try one. I should have known better! Guess what my dinner ended up being? Ridiculous! Anyway, I’ll sum it up to a cheat day for me. We all deserve one now and then though, right? This one was certainly unexpected though. Anyway, needless to say, these cookies are really good!
In a small bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl mix together peanut butter, honey, shortening and vanilla. Blend dry ingredients into wet with hand blender, or spoon, until well combined. Scoop dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined (or spray) baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 6-12 minutes until golden around the edges. Let cool and enjoy. Cool almond or coconut milk with it is a must!
Yes, it absolutely can be. But you figure out ways to save here and there, and make it work.
Let’s talk about some of the ways I’ve learned to help with the grocery budget. So I mentioned my favorites at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods but how can I forget Costco? Here is a list of a few of the things that I use on a daily or weekly basis:
organic tomato sauce, 12 pack
organic tomato paste, 12 pack
2 big bottles of lemon juice (use some daily)
organic prepacked apple packs (kids school snack)
organic pre-washed spinach
organic pre-cut carrots
organic chicken stock, 6 pack (nice to have on hand but I really prefer to make my own)
For the meats at Whole foods, I’ll get the grass fed chuck versus the sirloin most of the time. It’s a lot cheaper ($8.99 lb versus $6.99 per pound) but also, I want my kids to get that good healthy animal fat. It’s so good for them! Sometimes when I’m just cooking for myself I’ll use the grass fed sirloin or bison (for calorie’s sake really) but again, the fat is fine for everyone (a whole new post to come on why eating fat really won’t make us fat.).
We also go to the local farmer’s markets (Dekalb or The Catherdral’s on Sat morning). You can get some great fresh meats, goat cheeses, veggies, herbs, and more. It’s typically cost less, plus it’s just a fun trip for the whole family!
It’s also about learning your stores after years of comparison shopping. For example, I buy frozen okra all the time so when I need a quick snack and don’t have time to do lots of chopping, I can just put it on a pan and throw it in the oven. Today’s Harvest Cut Okra is $5.99 at Whole Foods and $3.49 Publix. That’s a huge difference, especially when I’m typically buying 3 bags a week. That’s $360 a year, on just okra!!
And, I certainly don’t go to whole foods and buy everything my heart desires. That would be nice but it’s not in the budget. So, that’s why I got to 3 different grocery stores weekly, if not more. And that’s not including the Costco run at least once a month. It’s just can all be so expensive so I really just get the stuff that (in my opinion) really needs to be organic. The meats are a must! And for the fruits and vegetables, I tend get the ones with thin skin so for example spinach, broccoli, grapes, zuchinni, eggplant, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. I’ll save avocado, limes, oranges, etc for Publix or Trader Joes.
I know it’s expensive, but so is eating out, and we don’t do that often. And, (much to my husband’s delight) I’m not a shopaholic — no Prada for me. You should see my sad closet! But you know what, I’d so much rather have my family eat healthy than have a new fun pair of jeans…at least for now. When I’m old and frumpy, you guys just get me on that show “What Not to Wear”. They’ll throw out my 10-year-old jeans and tees that I don’t realize are out of style (I’m probably already there and just dont know it. Dont tell me if so!) and help me then.
And by the way, please don’t interpret the above as a suggestion that you shouldn’t treat yourself. We all should! It’s just my priorities have changed, and, honestly, with all this grocery shopping and cooking, who has time to shop?