Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Top Five: Super Healthy Foods I Am Loving Now

If you are addicted to processed foods and sweets like I am was (it's a process) then you need to know that these foods may require a little getting used to. Nobody is going to go from cupcakes to kale overnight, but overtime it will get easier. Here are the new super foods I have added to my diet that I am loving now:


Acai (pronounced Ah Sigh EE) berries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. I buy acai smoothie packs (organic unsweetened acai puree) at my local health food store which I add to fruit smoothies.


I cannot even list all the health benefits of kale - well I could, but it would take a while. There is a reason kale is known as the "queen of the greens." It is one of the healthiest veggies on the planet and is full of disease fighting antioxidants. Add it to your salads, blend it in a green smoothie, or roast it to make it into a healthy crunchy snack (2 cups kale, 1-2 tsp. olive oil, and salt. Toss to coat and then bake at 425 for 6-8 minutes - until crunchy like a potato chip). Or you can try this recipe for Sesame-Kale Crisps.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. They also provide fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. When eaten, the chia seeds form a gel that can make you feel fuller longer and helps clean out your digestive system. You can sprinkle them on salads, put them in yogurt, or blend them in smoothies. I put a tablespoon in my green smoothie every day.


Quinoa (pronounced KEEN Wah) is a grain-like seed that contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Quinoa can also help the body absorb more nutrients with the help from its natural minerals, potassium, and manganese. If you have never tried quinoa check out 10 New Ways To Cook Quinoa.

Naked Green Machine

Obviously this is a drink, not a food, but it's full of super foods. Juicing is an awesome health benefit but I haven't bought my own juicer yet so instead I bought this super healthy, all-natural Naked Green Machine. It has the juice of 2 3/4 apples, 1/2 banana, 1/3 kiwi, 1/3 mango, hint of pineapple, plus spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, spinach, blue green algae, garlic, barley grass, wheat grass, ginger, and parsley. And guess what? It actually tastes good.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hungry For Change

Are you ready to change the way you eat forever? Are you ready to never "diet" again? If so, you need to watch this 90 minute film called Hungry For Change. It has forever changed the way I think about food. By the way, it's completely free if you watch it online before March 31.

Click here to watch the trailer or watch the entire film. It is so worth it.

The next film on my to-do list is called Food, Inc. I have heard that it's an eye-opening film that will also change the way I think about food. You can view the trailer, here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Natural Beauty

Last week I visited Utah's brand new shopping mecca in the heart of Downtown Salt Lake City. City Creek Center is a gorgeous new mall with high-end retail shops and restaurants. It is literally one of the most beautiful malls I have ever stepped foot in. There are a lot of stores new to Utah, like; Tiffany and Co., Coach, 77 Kids by American Eagle, Michael Kors, and Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics to name a few. After shopping we had lunch in the food court at Bocata Artisan Sandwiches, which is owned by one of my favorite restaurants, Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. I had a delicious Caprese Bocata that had fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt on a hot ciabatta roll that was fresh out of the brick oven (the bread tasted exactly like the pizza dough from Settebello's). It was heaven! 

City Creek Center

Other than seeing this spectacular new mall, I was most looking forward to lunch at Bocata, shopping at Nordstrom, and stepping into Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics for the first time. I had heard a lot about Lush but have never had the pleasure to shop there. Lush makes handmade natural products, they use minimal to no packaging, their bags are made from recycled paper, and they use no to very little chemicals in their products. They have scrubs, bath bombs, soap, shampoo, and much more.

Lush's Ocean Salt

Natural beauty products are more important to me than ever and here's why; 

I recently heard a Doctor on television say "you shouldn't put anything on your skin that isn't safe enough to eat." Your skin is your body's largest organ. What you put on your body, you literally absorb. I never really thought too much about this until lately when I read about chemical ingredients like phthalates and parabens in Crazy Sexy Diet

Phthalates: Phthalates are used to make fragrance last longer. It's found in products like shampoo, hair gels, lotions, and deodorants. The scary thing about phthalates is that "a quarter of American woman are already contaminated with high enough levels of phthalates to potentially cause malformations in their male offspring." As of right now, it's not required by law to put phthalates on the label. So until we get better laws it's best to avoid all synthetic fragrance-containing products. Look for natural fragrance or no added fragrance products.

Parabens: "These chemicals, which can act like estrogen in the body are used as preservatives in a wide array of lotions, shaving cream, make-up, and shower products." In 2004 a study was released stating that parabens could lead to breast cancer. 

(To see if your beauty products contain these ingredients, check out

Even though there are thousands and thousands of products on the shelves with these chemicals and some companies have stated that they are completely safe, I have decided to look into more natural products. I still want effective products - I just want a few less chemicals.

I have discovered that there are so many gorgeous, non-toxic beauty products on the market. Just check the ingredient labels and have an understanding of what's in your products. Look for words that end with paraben, look for added fragrance that isn't natural, and look for added coloring. I have purchased products with more natural ingredients recently from Aveda, Origins, and Lush just to name a few. Most of their products are fairly natural, however, some of their products do have small amounts of parabens to give them longer shelf life. Again, just check the label or their websites for product ingredients. I also switched my baby's shampoo and lotion to Burt's Bees all-natural after reading that most baby products are loaded with formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane - both known carcinogens. 

I love this product - Lush's Buffy Body Butter

This day and age it doesn't make you a hippie to use natural beauty products (unless your going for "hippie" - that's totally cool). Until harmful ingredients are banned from the beauty industry, you just need to do what you feel is right for you and your family. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Love Trader Joe's

First, I just have to say I envy you if you live near a Trader Joe's store. I live in Utah and we don't have a single store because of our State liquor laws. So, I have to plan trips around visiting a Trader Joe's at least once a year. This year we will be passing through Vegas and I have already started my list; jars of marinara sauce and mini artichoke hearts, crackers, peanut butter, saffron, and the list goes on... but I just discovered something from Trader Joe's that I can't wait to get my hands on - TOMATO PASTE! Look, it comes in a tube. That is just brilliant! Most recipes call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste and you're still left with a tiny can full of tomato paste. Do you throw it away and call it a loss? No. The next recipe will want just a tiny amount, too. I started freezing it in one tablespoon measurements (click here to see what I use to freeze it). But the tube will be so much better. I will be able to use what I need and throw the tube in the fridge until the next time. Oh, I love Trader Joe's. 

3/21/12 Update: I found two different brands of tomato paste in a tube at Whole Foods today. I was so excited! I was sad to read on the package that "after opening refrigerate immediately and use within two weeks". Two weeks isn't very long. But I still plan to stock up at Trader Joe's. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I love eggplant! It's probably one of my top 5 favorite veggies. It's so delicious, filling, and really low in calories (27 calories in a 1-cup serving). However, it's no longer a healthy vegetable when you order it fried and covered in cheese like my favorite Eggplant Parmesan at Brio Tuscan Grille.

There are so many ways to cook eggplant healthy; Bake it, layer it in veggie lasagna, add it to a healthy ratatouille, and so much more.

Here are some facts on why you should include eggplant in your diet;
  • Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular.
  • The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate, and vitamin C.
  • Eggplant is rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous.
Facts from

If you have never had eggplant or if you tried it before and didn't like it then here is a beginners recipe to try that is super easy, healthy, and delicious. Come on, you know you want to try it. Don't be scared. 

Baked Italian Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch circles (see above)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T water
3/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Combine egg and water in a shallow dish. Combine breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip eggplant slices in the egg mixture, coating both sides; dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat both sides. 
3. Spray baking sheet or line in parchment paper. Place eggplant on baking sheet; broil 5-7 minutes on each side until eggplant is golden brown and tender. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons marinara sauce on each slice and top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Return to broiler until cheese melts; about 1-2 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

Here are some other healthy eggplant recipes to try that I found recently on Pinterest;


Monday, March 5, 2012

Choose Good

I love this! It's just what I needed today to keep me motivated. I posted it just incase you needed a little extra motivation too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lasagna Roll-Up's

Picture from Classy Cooking 

I have another delicious recipe I want to share. I found this recipe for Lasagna Roll-up's on Pinterest which linked me to a blog called Cooking Classy. You can find the recipe, here. They were really tasty and easy to make. What I LOVED about this recipe was the "roll-up" part. You pretty much make twelve separate servings of lasagna in a baking dish. You cook the noodles, lay them flat, pile on the cheeses, sauce, and meat and then you roll them up and put them in a 9x13 baking dish. After you have them all in the baking dish, you put more sauce and cheese on top. When they are done baking you sprinkle fresh Italian Parsley over the top.

I love it because they are portion controlled and just the right amount. I have a favorite lasagna recipe I have made for years that I can't wait to make into roll-up's. I honestly don't think I can go back to baking lasagna the "traditional" way.