For those of you who have not yet heard, Elizabeth, author of our "Healthy Self" column, has been out on the road for the past month. Yep, she's driving eighteen-wheelers now! She's been driving with a mentor for most of December after getting her trucker's license in late November. She'll be able to drive solo, starting in January. Elizabeth really enjoys it and she's still eating as healthy as she can. That can be very challenging for a trucker, but she is determined to do it. And I have no doubt she will, just like I had no doubt that she could and would become a big rig driver! - Will Schultz (Elizabeth's dad)
Elizabeth is away for the month, so Judah, our gourmet chef, is filling in.
Check out his melt-in-your-mouth apple pie recipe below!
Everyone loves a good apple pie. But knowing how to make one can be a bit of a challenge, especially knowing how to make one that uses no sugar or white flour... and still comes out perfectly. Read on to see how it's done!
Wouldn’t life be great if you could do whatever you wanted without having to deal with any negative consequences? Imagine going to work only at your convenience, without a fear of losing your job. Or being able to speak your mind to rude individuals without any repercussions. What if you could party all night and wake up the next morning without any ill effects? As we know, the world doesn't work like this. We don’t live in a fairy tale. Each of our actions has a consequence, whether good or bad. The same holds true with how we treat our bodies. Sadly, ignoring this fact makes it no less real. Our bodies may be resilient, but everything has a breaking point. Just as a diet of natural, whole foods can make you energetic, alert, and healthy inside and out, a diet of overly-processed fast foods can bring on weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other maladies. So when deciding on what to eat, instead of choosing the easy, tasty, or cheap option, consider what the consequences of your choices can lead to. Are you promoting health and wellness in your body? Or are you simply eating whatever gives you momentary satisfaction?
Let’s compare your body and hungry stomach to a vehicle that’s running low on fuel. You spot a station selling cheap gas. After investigating, you find that the quality of the inexpensive fuel doesn’t compare to that of the other stations which offer clean, undiluted gasoline. Would you simply fill 'er up anyway and hope that your vehicle can sort things out? Or would you take a little more effort, time, and money and choose a better fuel? It’s not even a question, right? You wouldn’t want the contaminated fuel clogging your vehicle’s fuel lines and wrecking its engine, causing you to spend far more on costly repairs! The same concept should apply when choosing the right fuel for your body. However, since you can’t simply get a replacement as you can with a broken-down vehicle, far greater care must be taken!
There are numerous bad "body-fuels" that are extremely popular and readily available. Here are just a few to be aware of: Anything deep-fried, e.g french fries, onion rings, cheese sticks, and yes, fried candy bars. Because of the large amount of harmful fat that deep-fried foods contain, you are doing your body a service by avoiding them completely. Next are foods with high sugar content. Candy, soda, and ice cream are the usual suspects, but did you know that flavored yogurt, tomato sauce, salad dressing, and even canned soup can also contain gobs of the sweet stuff? It's true. Another silent culprit is sodium. A diet high in sodium can cause irreparable damage to your heart, especially if you are over 50. So consumers, please beware!
Did you know that one out of every three children in America is overweight and at risk for diabetes and other health problems? This is a scary fact. Scary, because today’s youth are far less active and have a less healthy diet than our previous generation. Because of this, they are expected to have a shorter lifespan. In this age of information and knowledge, this should not be the case!
Many children in America will most likely follow their family’s eating habits (whether good or bad) and will pass on the same habits to their children. This is why a healthy start for children is incredibly important! Without the correct information and guidance, a generation of fast-food-loving couch potatoes is sadly in our country’s future. We must educate everyone, especially our children, on the harmful effects of an unhealthy diet. We don’t just want our children to avoid eating certain foods; we want them to know why. If you were to hand some candy to one of my little brothers, they would simply give a “no thank you” and perhaps a smile. They realize that there are far better (healthier) options with which to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Even if you personally are struggling with a Big Mac addiction or a craving for some doughnuts, there’s no need to pass these bad habits on. When my dad and mom first became parents, they didn’t have all of the good eating habits that we, their children, now do. My dad was raised on Kool-Aid, and, as a kid, believed that a trip to McDonalds was a great treat. Even after he started what is now a family of 14 healthy children, my dad had occasional cravings for store-bought, sugar-filled, fatty ice cream, and would sneak some every now and then when we were young children. It was an unhealthy habit that he has completely dropped, but the most important thing is that he never let us see him indulge in this bad habit. He wasn’t being a hypocrite; rather, he was protecting his children from going through the same struggles that he was faced with.
So whether you are a new parent or grandparent, or you're simply considering having your own family one day, please think ahead to what kind of life you want your young ones to lead. The kind of life in which they grow up to find out how unhealthy all of the candy and soda was that they had been eating from their youth, and how they must now struggle to overcome? Or a life in which they were brought up knowing the difference between good and bad food from the very beginning. The results of the example you set could be life-changing for them.
When preparing a meal for yourself or your family, how do you go about it? Do you order out, go to a nearby drive-thru, or pop something in the microwave? Or do you grab a favorite recipe, gather some ingredients, and make your family a home-cooked meal? In today’s fast-paced society, fewer people are choosing the latter. After all, why not save some time by tossing a store-bought ready-to-eat meal in the microwave rather than setting aside an hour or so to make the same dish from scratch, right? The problem is, whatever time you save by choosing the fast-food option isn't worth it when your body is forced to digest all of the extra salt, sugar, preservatives, and other addi-tives so commonly found in ready-made foods. When you make the food in your own kitchen, there’s no question what is in it! This brings me to recipes. You use them quite often, right? I’ve heard several people mention that they would like to cook with healthier ingredients, but they are not sure how to include these in their tried-and-true recipes. So here I will list several substitutions every savvy baker should know about.
#1. 100% whole wheat flour instead of refined flour, also known as "all purpose", "unbleached", or "white" flour. Substitute ¾ cup of whole wheat flour for every cup of all purpose flour since whole wheat is heavier. Please remember that any pre-ground whole wheat flour, when left to sit for too long, can spoil, so be sure to purchase in small amounts or (as my family does) grind your own from whole grains! Nothing beats freshly-ground flour! #2. Honey or maple syrup instead of sugar (white or brown). Since both honey and maple syrup are sweeter than sugar, you should substitute ¾ to ½ cup of them for every cup of sugar. No need to worry over exact amounts, just remember not to swap evenly unless extra sweetness is desired. Due to honey's liquid form, you should also remove ¼ cup of another liquid ingredient in your recipe (such as milk) for every cup of honey or maple syrup used. #3. With the high price of eggs these days, it's always nice to have a great egg substitute on hand to use in baked goods! Substitute for 1 egg: Whisk one tablespoon of chia seeds with one cup of water or 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for approx. 15 min. Ta-da! You'll hardly be able to tell a difference when you taste the final product!
Summertime is in full swing; its heat and humidity are finally upon us. My family has a few methods by which to cope with the rising temperatures. One is to drink plenty of water... not soda, energy drinks, iced tea, or even fruit juice... but ice-cold water.
Another favorite summer refreshment is a fruit smoothie. We make it by blending fresh or frozen fruit such as grapes, peaches, or berries, with frozen bananas. Our family is a bit crazy about bananas. We can usually be found with a "wall" of them as you can see by the picture below.
Why all the bananas? Well, they are not only delicious, but are also very nutritious. Bananas provide you with mineral electrolytes which keep much-needed electricity flowing through your body. They can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can lower your blood pressure. Bananas are a great weight-loss aid and can even help you overcome depression. The list goes on and on. Having a couple bananas every day is very easy to do! Simply slice and serve on cereal or yogurt, or eat them plain.
Sometimes we have overripe bananas that we make into banana bread. Here's how: Blend 2 cups of mashed banana with 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup oil (We use safflower oil or 1/2 cup of melted butter. Or you can substitute 1/2 cup of plain yogurt in order to lower the fat content.) You can add 1/2 cup of honey for added sweetness, although the bananas alone will sweeten it quite a bit. Raisins or chopped dates can also add sweetness. Add a dash of vanilla if desired. Mix together 1 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add a handful of plain quick oats, walnut pieces, or flaxseed if desired. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into lightly greased loaf pan and bake at 325° for 1 hr & 20 min. Cool & enjoy!
Are you in charge of keeping yourself and your family fed? If so, providing your family members with healthier options can be a daunting task. Whether it’s purchasing the right foods, knowing how to prepare them, or trying to get your family to eat them, there are many questions that can arise. So let’s go over some important steps in healthy eating.
Know what’s in your food. Before you bring anything home, scrutinize it. Check the ingredient list for any foreign-sounding substances. Chances are that if your brain has a difficult time understanding ingredients like “Sodium Benzoate” or “Potassium Bromate”, your digestive system will too. Check sugar content. If the product in hand contains added sugar, for goodness sake, put it back on the shelf. Next, check fats. You want to completely avoid artificial trans fat, also called partially hydrogenated oil. This is one of the most unhealthy fats you can consume. The nutrition label should read “Trans fat: 0g”. Lastly, check for an unhealthy dose of sodium. Try to find foods containing 150 mg of sodium or less. You will find that the majority of ready-to-eat processed foods will not stand up to such a thorough inspection. This is why whole foods will be your best option.
Cook it yourself. Yes, it seems easiest to grab a bag of tater tots and corn dogs and pop them in the microwave, but think of the long-term health effects when your bad eating habits catch up to you - because they will. Instead, grab some raw potatoes and prepare them yourself. Don’t know how? The days of clueless cooks can be behind us, with the spread of online recipes and instructional videos. Simply grab your smartphone or laptop and google whatever you want to find. "How to prepare lentils", "how long to cook brown rice", "how to use quinoa", and a host of other questions have all been answered by knowledgeable people who have used such ingredients for years. Use their free cooking tips and don't be afraid to experiment! Eating healthy isn't as hard as you might think!
What is food? The definition of food is, "any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc." A second definition says simply, "nourishment taken into the body." According to these meanings, sodas and other 0% juice drinks are not food. Most candy is not really food. How can it be? What about donuts? Nope. Cakes or cookies made with only white flour and white sugar? According to these definitions... no. Junk food does not supply nutrients or proper energy to your body. On the contrary, it robs your body, depleting essential vitamins and nutrients... nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Anything labeled "junk food" should be off the table... literally!
I've heard a lot of people, when talking about eating junk, say, "everything in moderation" or use the word "balance". Everything in moderation? Where did people get that from? Many look to the Bible. I've looked up "everything in moderation" or "all in moderation", in multiple versions. That phrase is not in the Bible. The words "moderation" and "balance" are in the Bible, but are used differently. What's really going on here?
Many people want to feel good about eating their junk. At least, they want to feel okay about it. I've personally struggled with this for years. We tell ourselves that it is permissible and even fine, according to the Bible. But it's not true. According to the Bible, God wants us to surround ourselves with good things and shun the bad. It's pretty simple. But like the expression, "have your cake and eat it too", so many want to "have their junk and eat it too." For your own health and well-being and for the health of your loved ones, surround yourselves with only good food, real food. God wants us to eat foods that help us, not junk that hurts us.
This month's article written by Will Schultz. (Elizabeth is taking the month off.)
When you are trying to build a healthier diet for yourself and your family, finding the right foods can be difficult. While shopping, you can learn some helpful details about many foods, just by their lists of ingredients and their nutrition labels. However, most of the information on these labels is only there because the food manufacturers are required to list it. Because of this, the nutrition label can be deceptive, and can lack certain information.
Many food manufacturers prefer to blur the lines between good and bad, or natural vs unnatural ingredients. This way, they can profit from the lack of knowledge that the general public has regarding the food we eat. I’ve already written about the distinct difference between beneficial natural sugars and harmful added sugar. It is very important to understand distinctions like these.
Another example is the calorie. Widely used to measure the amount of energy you get from the food that you eat, it can be an important part of keeping track of your food intake. However, a distinction must be made between nutritious calories like those from an apple, and empty calories like the ones from a doughnut. On the one hand, you have an apple which provides you with so many vitamins and nutrients, thus making the calories from it nutrient-dense and extremely beneficial. On the other hand, you have the calories from a doughnut, which are empty and void of almost all nutritional value.
Something like a doughnut, which is high in deficient calories, forces your body to use the valuable nutrients it has on hand, in order to process these empty calories. This is how a person living in a great country like America can sadly be suffering from both malnutrition and obesity at the same time!