Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Causes Cravings - 3 Ways To Control Them

Quick - what do you eat with a hamburger? If your mind instantly associated "French Fries" with "hamburger"'ve got some mind retraining to do.

Cravings are a psychological fact of life. I said to my friend the other day: Eating Clean is 3/4 retraining your mind psychologically, 1/4 actually eating Clean. Cravings happen, and if you change your psychological responses to food and how you cope with certain'll be better prepared when that evening cookie craving ( *blush* ) strikes hard and fast.

This article is so spot on perfect...I'm reprinting it word for word from

What Causes Cravings? 3 Ways To Control Them

You had a fantastic breakfast of oatmeal with low-fat milk and berries, a mid-morning apple and almonds, and a salad for lunch. Then 3 pm rolls around and it hits you: those cookies your co-worker brought into the office seem just too irresistible to pass up. You start thinking about them more than your work . . . more than your significant other . . . more than anything that exists on earth. Ever have a craving?

I wish I could tell you that there’s one cause of cravings and if we solved that then we’d all miraculously have the willpower to resist high-calorie treats. Of course, that’s not the case and in fact, sometimes we want to have (and enjoy) our cake. But we should be able to enjoy it on our terms, not because of a “sudden urge” that often leaves us feeling guilty afterward.
The key then is to become aware of and determine what triggers cravings for you and then brainstorm solutions that allow you to prevent or handle them better. From my experience working with clients, here are three of the most common reasons for cravings:
1. Hunger: We tend to make less ideal food choices when we are ravenously hungry. This is one of the biggest reasons I advocate small, frequent meals. If you go more than four hours or so without eating, your blood sugars will likely start dropping to the point that any food around you becomes deliciously tempting, even if it’s not a healthy option.
Planning small snacks for mid-morning and mid-afternoon between meals can go a long way in reducing cravings and keeping you feeling energized all day long. Some examples of great snack options: piece of low-fat string cheese and fruit, a palmful of your favorite nuts or half a sandwich. Also, stay hydrated throughout the day because very often we will eat when we are in fact thirsty.
2. Habit: What causes you to want chips with your sandwich? Or soda with a slice of pizza? Or something sweet after dinner? Sometimes eating habits we’ve developed through repetition cause our brain to go on auto-pilot whenever we hit a particular situation, even if it means eating food we really don’t want to have. But we justify it by thinking and believing that we just “need” a particular food because that’s how we’ve always done it. But you haven’t always done it. You were not born needing a dessert after dinner. We’ve just trained ourselves to be that way.
So next time you sense a craving due to a habitual situation, stop for a moment and consider a better alternative. Do this a few times in a particular situation, then it may become your new, healthier habit. Here are some examples: consider having some crunchy veggies instead of chips with your sandwich, have some naturally-flavored seltzer instead of soda with your pizza or try a Greek yogurt parfait in place of ice cream for dessert after dinner.
3. Availability: Often we will eat foods just because they are there, staring at us in the face. Two of the best examples are the bread basket at dinner and picking at your dinner plate after you are full. And, think about how many times you’ve eaten foods that you would not have bought yourself, but decided to indulge in because they were free and available, like when your co-worker decided to buy a dozen donuts for the office.
Consider the adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you don’t have tempting foods around at home (cake, cookies, ice cream, etc.) and stock healthy alternatives (nuts, dates, dark chocolate, cereal, Greek yogurt) then you will be much more inclined to make better choices since you don’t have lousy ones available! Or you can take control of your environment at restaurants by asking your server to remove or only bring one piece of bread instead of a bucket. Finally, if you are confronted with free food take a moment and ask yourself, “Would I pay for this food?” If no, reconsider whether it’s worth eating for free. Or, make sure you have a healthy snack available as an alternative (see “hunger” above).

Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, author of Savor Fitness & Nutrition wellness blog and avid proponent of MyBodyTutor, a health coaching website dedicated to helping people stay consistent with their healthy eating and exercise goals.

Thank you, blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Updated Seafood Dirty Dozen list

Did you know:
  • Less than 2 percent of imported seafood is inspected.
  • Over 70 percent of domestic shrimp and about 60 percent of domestic oysters came from the Gulf of Mexico prior to the April 2010 oil spill.
  • The average consumer eats about 16 pounds of seafood annually, approximately 4 pounds of which is shrimp.

 For a while now, I've been extremely conscious of the country of origin for the seafood I eat - I don't buy seafood raised and processed in Asian countries, and instead prefer to buy seafood that indicates it is wild caught, processed at sea, or farm raised in the US.

Questions you to ask before making a seafood purchase:
  • Where is this seafood from?
  • Is it caught or farmed locally?
  • How is this fish caught?
  • How is this fish farmed?
  • Is this seafood associated with any contaminants?
 Food and Water Watch  has come out with an updated list of 12 seafood species to avoid, why you should avoid them, and better choices for the consumer who is concerned about where their seafood is produced and sourced. It's well documented that seafood raised outside the US is subject to questionable animal husbandry tactics ( antibiotics, growth hormones ), and seafood from Asiatic countries are particularly suspicious.

The Seafood Dirty Dozen 

12 fish that fail at least two of our criteria for safe and sustainable seafood (the order listed does not reflect a ranking) The Food & Water Watch uses five major criteria when it comes to recommending seafood:
- Contaminants
- Status of the Stock
- Catch Method or Farming Method
- Economic/Cultural/Social Significance
- Key Species

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna poses a very high health risk due to high levels of both mercury and PCB contamination. Bluefin tuna are internationally overfished, nearly to levels of extinction. They are believed to be 80% or more below their original abundance levels. The eastern and western Atlantic Ocean stocks to which bluefin tuna are native are listed as “endangered,” and “critically endangered,” respectively, in the IUCN Redlist of the world’s most threatened species.

Catfish, Imported (also known as Basa, Swai, Tra or Pangasius)

Imported catfish often come from Southeast Asia, where use of chemicals and antibiotics is barely regulated. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects less than two percent of imported seafood, imported catfish may be contaminated with antibiotic, pesticide or bacterial residues.

Caviar, especially from beluga and other wild-caught sturgeon

The beluga sturgeon, also known as the European or great sturgeon, is found primarily in the Caspian and Black Seas. The beluga sturgeon can live for over 100 years and does not reach maturity until at least 15 years of age. As a result of its long lifespan and slow maturation, this species has low resilience and is vulnerable to overfishing. The salted eggs of the beluga sturgeon, known as caviar, are considered a delicacy. The demand for highly valued beluga caviar has led to overfishing and poaching of the species. The construction of dams as well as pollution has further diminished the population.

Cod, Atlantic

The Atlantic cod stock collapsed in the early 1990s and is currently undergoing overfishing. It is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This species is frequently caught using bottom or otter trawls, nets that drag along the seafloor, and can damage the bottom habitat and remove or cover animals and plant life. This fishing method also can result in the unintended capture of many other types of marine life (bycatch).

Eel, American (also known as “yellow” or “silver” eel)

The American eel is known to have high concentrations of mercury and PCBs, toxic chemicals that can prove harmful to human health.

Flatfish, Atlantic (e.g. flounder, sole and halibut)

Most other Atlantic flatfish stocks are also seriously overfished. Atlantic halibut has been overfished off the coast of the Northeastern United States since the 1800’s. Despite management practices that currently prevent targeted fishing of Atlantic halibut and attempt to reduce bycatch of the species, the fishery has not recovered.

Imported King Crab

Although many varieties of crabs live in North American waters, the United States also imports crab from other countries. Often, exporters will sell crab caught here in the U.S. to other countries where they can receive a higher price, while importing cheaper crab, often from Russia, for local consumption in the U.S. Exacerbating the situation, much of the crab caught in Russia exceeds the total allowable catch, making it illegal.

Imported Shrimp

Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, but about 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is imported from other countries where seafood production and employment conditions are often not well regulated.

Roughy, Orange

Orange roughy may contain levels of mercury contamination that pose a health risk for adults and children. Orange roughy are caught in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans with fisheries off the coast of New Zealand, Australia, Namibia, the Northeast Atlantic, and Chile. This fish is particularly vulnerable to overfishing due to its long lifespan and slow maturation.

Salmon, Atlantic and Farmed

Farmed salmon may contain levels of PCB contamination that pose a health risk to adults and children. It may also be contaminated with pesticides and antibiotics. Farmed salmon are usually raised in cages in open waters. These cages allow free-flow of anything from the farm into the wild, and promote transfer of diseases, especially sea lice, from caged to wild fish.

Seabass, Chilean

Chilean seabass may contain levels of mercury contamination that pose a health risk to adults and children. For nearly a decade, illegal fishing has plagued Chilean seabass populations, while killing seabirds by the thousands, including several species of endangered albatrosses.


Shark may contain levels of mercury contamination that pose a health risk to adults and children. Shark populations are vulnerable to overfishing, as they mature slowly and do not reproduce quickly. Sharks can be caught and killed by fishermen when targeting other types of fish.

If you'd like a PDF of this information - the Dirty Dozen and a list of alternative species to look for when shopping for seafood - click this link for a printable PDF.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clean Eating in the News: Class Action Lawsuit Aginst Kashi For Hazardous Ingredients


      A class action lawsuit was filed last year against Kashi and its parent company Kellogg’s. The reason? Kashi’s GoLean and TLC products are marketed as “all-natural” and state that they contain “nothing artificial” when, in fact, they are “composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients”, so says the lawsuit. On August 31, 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Kashi for allegedly misleading consumers with its "natural" claims. One Kashi product in particular, GoLean Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, according to the plaintiff.

But wait, it gets worse. MUCH WORSE.

The Kashi class action lawsuit alleges that some of these synthetic ingredients are even listed by the FDA as prescription drugs, irradiated substances, pesticides that are a by-product of uranium mining, and federally declared hazardous substances.

Here are just a few examples from the lawsuit of ingredients that have been included in Kashi’s products and claim to be “all natural” or contain “nothing artificial”:

- Phytonadione (Vitamin K) has not been listed by the FDA as generally recognized as safe as a food additive. Its injectible form is listed as a prescription drug.

Bromelain is an enzyme derived from pineapple. According to the National Library of Medicine’s Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), its production requires acetone, which is a hazardous synthetic substance.

- Sodium Molybdate has not been declared to be generally recognized as safe by the FDA. According to HSDB, molybdenum salts are by-products of uranium mining and can be found in fertilizers for leguminous crops, citing American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

 The class action lawsuit against Kashi and Kellogg’s lists 14 claims including making false, deceptive and misleading representations and omissions, negligence and negligent representation, false advertising, and conspiracy.

A blogger on Greenit recently wrote about Kashi's use of GMOs in their cereals labeled as organic and natural. GMOs are not permitted in any product labeled with the USDA Organic stamp. Right click on the link and open it in a new browser - well worth the read. 

Some of the items cited are specifically because they contain GMOs - so take that portion for what you will. 

Kashi Heart to Heart Blueberry Cereal was found to contain organophosphate pesticides implicated as causes of neuropathy in humans.

"Natural" Kashi Golean Honey almond Flax was found to contain malathion in the wheat and chlorpyrifos and piperonyl butoxide in the almonds both which are prohibited in organics due to their neurotoxicity and hormone disrupting ability in mammals.

Other toxic ingredients in Kashi cereals include GM canola oil, GM corn flour, GM corn meal, GM corn bran, irradiated cinnamon and soy lecithin.

Golean Original Cereal contains GM soy grits and protein, GM corn meal, GM corn flour and GM corn bran.

Golean Crisp! Cinnamon Crumble contains GM soy grits and protein, GM canola oil, GM corn flour, irradiated cinnamon and soy lecithin.

Golean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble contains GM soy grits and protein, GM canola oil, GM corn flour and soy lecithin.
A logical question that one may be asking right now is “Ok, they’re cracking down on ‘all-natural’ advertising but what does that have to do with organic?”
The answer is very simple.
Many consumers mistakenly believe that “natural” is superior to and healthier than “organic”. Yet, this is absolutely not the case.
If, however, as a result of these lawsuits, “natural” is no longer unfairly exploited and people soon realize that “natural” doesn’t really mean much at all, organic food can only benefit.
 They will soon realize that the healthiest food available is organic food.

If you'd like to read the entire class action lawsuit filed in California as a PDF click here!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Greek Yogurt Review XI: Wallaby Organic Greek Yogurt

     Over the weekend I had the bad fortune to have to visit my local phone store; my phone is having issues. I was told to wait an hour while the techs looked at my phone. I sighed, looked out the store window...and remembered there is a Whole Foods store I love to visit
( but never get the chance to! ) just down the street. I bought waaay too much stuff, including 2 "new to me" yogurts - one of them being a cup of Wallaby organic Greek yogurt. Once again, I tried the honey flavored variety.

     I appreciated that this is a completely organic product, and the 2 ingredient list puts it head and shoulders above just about every other commercially available Greek yogurt out there: Organic cultured milk, and probiotic cultures. This was a lowfat yogurt - not no fat - and the nutritional data reflects it: 180 calories in the cup, with 30 grams of carbs. I believe much of that sugar content comes from the honey.

     Wallaby has a side cup to stir in the honey or fruit that comes with it - similar to Fage. If you have trouble mixing the yogurt with the side well flavor - check out this little trick I learned! I tasted the plain yogurt before adding the honey- tangy! Very easily 4 out of 5 on my tangy scale. I don't think I'd like eating this plain - but with the honey mixed it, I found the tang significantly tamed.  The yogurt itself is thin - unlike any Greek yogurt I've encountered before.The serving size is 5.3 ounces - just under the "normal" 6 oz cup size you find elsewhere. I find the smaller size a little psychologically challenging. I know it is not much of a difference, but somehow, I get the feeling I haven't eaten as much and find the 5.3 ounce cups don't satisfy.

Wallaby, based in Napa Valley, California, is known for its creamy, pudding-like yogurts which they call Australian-style, a term we’ve not come across elsewhere. We’d call them custard-style, French-style or Swiss-style . The founders were inspired to make the yogurt while enjoying many a yogurt in Australia.
 A press release notes that “Once the founders had decided [to make Greek yogurt], they tried every brand of Greek yogurt that they could get their hands on. When they were done, they ultimately concluded that there just weren’t any organic Greek yogurts out there that tasted really great. What followed was an intense effort of repeated trial and error, to come up with what they ultimately felt would be a Greek yogurt unmatched in taste.”

I found the yogurt to be tasty, but I felt the honey really over powered the yogurt taste. If I have another cup of this, I'll remember to put in less honey next time. ( I think I instinctively added too much thinking I'd counteract the tangyness. ) It was good - thin, but good. If this is what is called Australian type yogurt, I think I'll stick with my regular Greek yogurts. It wasn't bad...but I think I prefer the thicker consistency of Fage, Chobani, and even my local Giant's store brand.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Clean Eating Coupons

  • $1.50/2 Mary’s Gone Crackers Products
  • $1/1 Van’s Products
  • $.75/1 Lundberg Family Farms Rice Chips
  • $.55/1 San-J Gluten Free Tamari Sauce
  • $.75/1 Rudi’s Organic Flatz
  • $.75/1 Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce Product
  • $1/1 Country Choice Organic Product
  • $1.50/2 Nature's Path Eco Pacs
  • $.65/1 Florida Crystals Product
  • $.5/1 Garden Of Life Raw Meal or Raw Protein
and more!
    New Mambo Sprouts Printable Coupons

    $1.50 off any two Organic Valley Milks, 64oz or Larger
    $1 off any one Dozen or two 6-pack Orgnaic Valley Eggs
    $1.50 off any two Organic Valley Butters, 1lb or 8oz

    Save on Organic Valley Eggs, Milk, or Butter

    .75 off 1 ANY Earthbound Farms Organic Produce

    Facebook Only: .55 / 1 So Delicious Almond or Soy Milk

    Buy One Pure Bar, Get One Free

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    SOS Mix in place of Cream of X Soup - It Will Save You!

         If you grew up in a time when Mom made dinner by reaching for a can of Cream of Something soup to make a favorite casserole like me, there are times when I actually long for the comfort those nutritional disasters can afford. About a month ago, I heard there was a Clean(ish) recipe to replace whatever Campbell's Cream of Whatever soup can in your favorite recipe with a powdered version. I was intrigued, and set about finding it. Last weekend, I finally did - at the One Good Thing By Jillee  blog. Her blog is a mash of clever things for re purposing, crafts, and DIY.

         Because this contains instant chicken bullion - which by its very nature is essentially salt - this is a recipe to be used sparingly for the conscientious Clean Eater. If you've had a good day salt wise, have this mix in your casserole at night with a clear mind. Had a little more salt than maybe you should have during the day? Be mindful this might be something to have for another day.

         This recipe can also be fiddled with to have it more closely resemble the Cream of X soup you're using it for. Cream of Celery soup? Just add a touch of celery powder or ( easy on the ) celery salt. Cream of Mushroom? Buy dried mushroom and grate them into the mixture just before adding water to the powder.

    Soup or Sauce [S.O.S.] Mix

    2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
    3/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon (regular or low sodium)
    2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
    2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

    Combine all ingredients in a recloseable plastic bag, mixing well.
    Equal to 9 (10.5 oz) cans of cream soup.

    #1 It’s G L U T E N – F R E E! It’s incredibly frustrating how many canned soups have gluten in them!!! It’s also FAT-FREE!
    #2 It’s H O M E M A D E with 4 simple ingredients that you can PRONOUNCE! (I bet you even have them somewhere in your kitchen right now.)
    #3 It’s S I M P L E. (Took me about 3 minutes to mix up a batch)
    #4 It’s C H E A P! Each mix contains the equivalent of 9 cans of cream soup! And all you are adding to it is WATER!

     To substitute for 1 can of cream soup
     Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of cold water. Whisk until well blended.Cook and stir on stove top or in microwave until thickened. Add thickened mixture to casseroles as you would a can of soup.

    Thanks to One Good Thing By Jillee for both the recipe and the picture!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    7 Reasons To Quit Drinking Soda For Good

    The average American consumes 50 gallons of diet and regular soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages each and every year, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy reports. Soda is the single largest source of added sugar in the modern diet, and it’s also the leading cause of childhood obesity in the United States.

    Whether it’s a super-sized cola at the mini-mart or bottomless refills at your favorite chain restaurant, soda (even diet soda) sets you up for weight gain and health problems ranging from diabetes to dental issues, supplying you with hundreds of calories and no nutrition in return.
    Need some proof? Here are the seven deadly sins of soda, along with simple steps to help you squelch the habit.

     1. Diet Soda and Weight Gain

    We know that drinking sugar- and calorie-filled soda leads to weight gain, but it may surprise you to learn that even diet soda can contribute to unwanted pounds. In the San Antonio Heart Study, which tracked 3,682 adults over a seven- to eight-year period, those who drank artificially sweetened beverages had body mass indexes up to 47 percent greater than people who did not imbibe. It’s not completely clear why zero-calorie drinks lead to weight gain, but researchers believe that diet soda drinkers have unhealthier diets overall than those who skip soda completely.

    2. Soda and Heart Health

    Even if you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t experienced soda-induced weight gain, you could still be putting your heart at risk. Men who drink one 12-oz. sugar-sweetened drink per day are 20 percent more likely to get heart disease than those who don’t drink sugary beverages, a study published in the journal Circulation found. Similarly, a study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting found that women who have two or more sugar-filled drinks a day were nearly four times more likely to have high triglycerides than those who drank less than one soda daily. They were also at greater risk for excess belly fat, which can affect cholesterol and blood pressure.

    3. Soda and Emotional Health

    The simple sugar soda contains (often 10 teaspoons per 12-oz. can!) creates rises and falls in blood sugar levels. This sugar can cause an increase in the feel-good hormone serotonin along with an energy spike, but that’s often followed by a crash that can cause a general down feeling.
    A blood sugar roller coaster ride may not be soda’s only effect on emotional health. One study of teens in Boston found that those who drank six or more cans of soda a week were more likely to be violent with family and friends and even carry a weapon. Researchers associated heavy soda consumption with a 9 to 15 percent increase in the risk for aggressive behavior and suggest that sugar or caffeine may be to blame.

    4. Soda and Diabetes

    The simple sugar in soda can spike the insulin response in your body, which can lead to increased belly fat and insulin resistance — a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, says Erin Palinski, RD, a dietitian and author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. “If you already have diabetes, soda is like pouring pure sugar into your bloodstream, causing spikes in blood sugar levels, which can have very serious effects on your internal organs,” she adds.

    5. Soda and the Obesity Connection

    The largest source of empty calories in the American diet, soda adds to the risk for weight gain and obesity without adding a gram of good nutrition. Unlike healthy foods and even junk food, soda doesn’t leave you with a sense of satiety and that can easily lead to excessive calorie intake. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume only between 6 and 9 teaspoons of sugar each day, but a typical 12-ounce can of soda has about 40 grams of sugar, the equivalent of about 10 teaspoons, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, LD, a wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

    6. Soda and Dental Health

    Belly fat isn’t the only visible consequence of chugging all that soda. Your dental health may pay a steep price, too. “The constant bathing of teeth with the added sugar has been proven to contribute to the formation of dental caries,” says Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, a nutritionist and author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks — Without Prescription Drugs and Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease. As if getting cavities wasn’t bad enough, your pearly whites are also at risk from the acids in soda, which can erode tooth enamel.

    7. Soda and Children's Health

    Teach your children that soda is an occasional treat, not an everyday drink. “Soda is both high in sugar and caffeine,” Kirkpatrick says. “Introducing soda early in life may encourage lifelong drinking, putting children at risk for obesity and chronic diseases once they enter adulthood. The caffeine in soda can cause sleep disturbances in children as well.” Instead of soda, offer your kids low-fat milk, water, and the occasional 100-percent fruit juice — but remember that fruit juices and sports drinks also add unnecessary sugar to a child’s diet.

    Soda Consumption: How to Cut Back

    Like any bad habit, it’s tough to turn off the tap on soda, but there are both satisfying and tasty alternatives that won’t wreck your diet. Carbonated water or seltzer will give you the fizz without sugar or calories. Want a flavor jolt? Add a fourth cup of 100-percent fruit juice to 16 ounces of seltzer. Unsweetened herbal teas come in a wide variety of flavors and also offer great taste without calories or caffeine.
    Finally, a little tough love in the form of nutritional information can’t hurt when you’re trying to quit. According to a study conducted at convenience stores in Baltimore by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, teens shown information about soda, including the amount of exercise it takes to burn off all those calories, were more likely to make healthier choices, like water.

    Thank you,

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Easy Reference Spice Chart for Flavorful Clean Eating

    The flows...

    Ever wonder what spices go with what foods? ( I know I have ) Check out this handy dandy chart!

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Clean Eating Mojo Marinade for Beef or Chicken

         Over the weekend, I found myself on the phone, talking with friends. One in particular has followed my Clean Eating journey and has started to slowly change her eating habits to a more healthy one, and is noticing the improvements: weight lost, energy gained, self confidence returning. Yay!

    We got on the topic of grilling, and I told her about the Great Grill Disaster of 2012,  She told me about a marinade her husband recently learned to make for chicken and beef. It sounded absolutely delicious - and Clean. A few hours after our conversation, I got a link to the Barefoot in the Kitchen blog which has  the original recipe.

    This recipe is just what a Clean Eater needs - a great marinade for meat that isn't a sugary mess from a bottle, but imparts tons of flavor without the unnecessary salt, sugar, and chemicals. 

    Note: Apparently this marinade freezes really well, so if you double or triple the recipe, you can make enough for future grilling fun.

    Mojo Marinade

    recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

    5 garlic cloves, minced
    1 jalapeno, very finely minced
    1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, about 3 tablespoons finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust as desired
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, adjust as desired
    2 limes, juiced
    1 orange, juiced
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    1/2 cup olive oil

    In a large bowl, combine the very finely minced garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper. Using a mortar and pestle or your hands, mash together and crush to make a paste. Scrape into a jar and then add the orange and lime juices, vinegar and oil. Shake really well to combine thoroughly. Use as a marinade for beef or chicken. Enjoy!

    Recipe makes approximately 1 1/4 cups of marinade.

    Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Link Love Sunday

    1. Does Consuming Organic Foods Turn People Into Jerks?

    2. I'm a sucker for clever tips to help me do things better. Check out this page of helpful tips!

    Love the hamburger portions!

    3. Ready to get your tinfoil hat on? Maybe not. Read this Anti-GMO Foods article, and let it sink in for a bit.   Is it a call to arms or is it Henny Penny "The sky is falling!" ???

    4. This isn't a link, but my friend Linda's Avengers obsession knows no bounds, and it coincided with the passing of Maurice Sendak. She and I geek well together; I love this picture.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Sushi and Clean Eating


         A food "group" growing in popularity among Clean Eaters is sushi, the Japanese tradition of rolling raw seafood in sticky rice and sliced into rolls. Most sushi is only prepared with the highest quality of seafood for the freshest taste - but you need to know that in some cases, you're getting a little bit more than you might expect - especially calorie wise. If you've got a well reviewed sushi restaurant in your area and you've never tried sushi - I would highly recommend corralling a sushi loving friend and have them accompany you to the restaurant.  

         Sushi is a combination of cooked, flavored rice and raw vegetables, fish, seafood and sea vegetables. In contrast, sashimi refers to sliced, raw fish that is often dipped in soy sauce. Sushi is sometimes wrapped in nori, a kelp and seaweed-based wrapper that enfolds the rice and filling and is rolled tightly. These rolls are sliced and served sliced-side up. Most often, the larger rolls are cut into eight slices. The popular California roll, made with cucumber, avocado and surimi, or imitation crabmeat, provides 255 calories per roll. The unagi, or eel, and avocado roll contains 372 calories.

     California roll and the unagi and avocado roll provides 5.8 g fiber. In contrast, the kappa maki, or cucumber, roll provides only 3.5 g fiber. Some sushi versions use brown rice or other types of rice, and the fiber value is higher for those types. Vegetable-based sushi rolls are also higher in fiber because they often contain carrots, cucumbers, avocados and sea vegetables.The fat content of the sushi rolls varies by the type of fish and the type of spread that could be mixed into the filling. The spicy tuna roll sometimes contains mayonnaise, and the fat can increase. Salmon and tuna are naturally fatty fish, so sushi that contains these fish will be higher in fat. Rice, the base of sushi, is high in carbohydrates. However, not much rice is used to make most sushi rolls. If possible, choose brown rice when ordering sushi, because you will gain the added nutritional benefits of fiber and some vitamins. Sushi can be a fun meal, but the calories can add up if you aren't careful. If you are concerned about controlling your calorie and fat intake, choose vegetable-based sushi and select fish that are naturally lean, such as white fish. Avoid fish mixtures, like the spicy tuna roll, which could contain mayonnaise, because they add fat and calories.

     Some fish and seafood, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and crab, are low in unhealthy saturated fats, but high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are associated with improving your blood cholesterol levels and lowering your blood pressure. Mackerel and sardines also contain a lot of vitamin E. Nori, a seaweed rich in magnesium, calcium, folic acid, iron, iodine and various antioxidant compounds, is commonly used to wrap maki sushi.

    If you live in a large suburban or urban area and have access to high end, "authentic" Japanese sushi bars, I'd highly recommend this web page on sushi restaurants and what to expect - excellent information: Hoiw to Eat Sushi - Eugene Ciurana

    Sushi FAQ: Calories ( Per Entire Roll, Not Per Slice! ) for Most Sushi

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Crazy Smart Water Bottle Trick!


         If you are having trouble getting your daily water in, try marking a water bottle with time goals. By the time marked every day, your water bottle should be at that level. If you have a visual reminder of your water progression, you are MUCH more likely to consume it than if it is hidden behind a metal bottle where you can't see your progress! ( Believe me - I know - since I switched back to a clear water bottle from a metal one, my water consumption has gone through the roof! )

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Why is Yogurt Clean?

    I received this question via email on Saturday:

    Q: Why is yogurt clean? It's made in a factory, and often has sugar in it. How can this be clean? I thought clean was unprocessed foods that don't have added sugar. ( Name withheld upon request  )

    A:  That's a really good question!

         If you dissect exactly what yogurt is, you'll discover a core truth. Yogurt is essentially curdled milk. It's milk that has curdled from good cultures, rather than the nasty ones that make your milk a clotted clump if it lives in the fridge too long - but essentially, it is curdled milk. Milk is a natural product, easily found in Nature if you've got Ole Bessie around. So somewhere, in a factory, they conveniently dispense portions of curdled milk into cups for us to consume.

         Because milk is the base ingredient of yogurt, it contains sugar in the form of milk sugar, or more commonly referred to as lactose.

     Science stuff: "Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk (by weight), although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from lac or lactis, the Latin word for milk, plus the -ose ending used to name sugars. It has a formula of C12H22O11." ( Thanks, Wiki! )

        A large majority of the sugar you see on the label of yogurt appearing as "Sugar" is actually the inherent lactose in milk. The FDA doesn't differentiate between sugars added during manufacturing and inherent sugar content of food. As a broad generalization - the more expensive the yogurt you are buying, the less likely the manufacturer has added large amounts of sugar to their yogurt; they leave a large portion of the lactose intact in their product ( a more expensive process ) and thus, their label looks like it has sugar in it - but in reality, it doesn't - or if it does, it is a small amount simply to take the "tang" edge off their yogurt. Usweetened yogurt can pack a heck of a tang to it.

         Most Clean Eaters don't buy "regular" yogurt, but buy Greek yogurt. It has a large portion of the water removed, and it makes it a denser product, with a higher protein content. In short - more nutrition per ounce of product. Also, that yogurt has a higher sugar content because of the concentration process.

         So coming back to your question - yogurt is clean because it is made of  well cultured milk, and if you buy a high quality, no fruit added flavor ( like a vanilla flavor ), you are more than getting very little to no added sugar. Clean.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Dead Deal - Eating Well Magazine : $5.99 / Year After Coupon Code!

         If you are looking for an additional Clean Eating resource, you might consider Eating Well Magazine; today's Tanga daily magazine deal. 

    Normally $30.00 for a year's subscription, you can get this bi-monthly magazine for only $5.99 for the entire year's subscription today on Tanga with coupon code WELL.

    Eating Well is geared toward helping families embrace healthier eating habits. Using their easy, creative recipes and useful tips, you’ll learn to shop, cook, and eat with confidence. Eating Well is all about understanding how food impacts your health, wellness, and community, and helping you make smart choices that fit your lifestyle.

    While not every recipe in this magazine is Clean, the vast majority of them will be Clean, with others maybe a few tweaks will get you a Clean version.

    I buy Eating Well magazine on the newstand, so I'm definitely interested in today's Tanga deal!

    Click here to go to Tanga's magazine deal of the day - $5.99 a Year for Eating Well Magazine with coupon code WELL. ( There is a place to put in your code once you begin the checkout process! )

    A "Berry Clean" Breakfast Muffin

    Here is a good idea for breakfast or snack - A Berry Clean Breakfast Muffin

    1/4 cup quick oats
    1 egg (sub. 1/4 egg beaters for less calories)
    small handful of blueberries
    little bit of stevia or honey (optional)
    1 tbsp soymilk, almond milk, or regular milk(for added moistness!)

    Mix it all up into a large coffee mug!

    Put it in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, make sure it doesn’t overflow! Add an extra 30 sec if it needs to firm up, keep adding 30 seconds at a time until it gets to a firm consistency.

    ( If you find this recipe "too eggy" for your tastes, increase the amount of oats so the 1/4 c is overflowing, and increase the amount of stevia or honey to take the edge off the egg. ) 

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    A Thought From My Weekend...

         On Sunday, my boys took me to the movies for Mother's Day. We saw The Avengers ( All Hail Joss Whedon ) and I thoroughly enjoyed the rare movie theater outing with my family - and I enjoyed the movie, too. The theater we went to is an old one, and the seats aren't like those Barcoloungers in the Metroplex style theaters built today. It's an old school theater - small seats, small aisles. The last time I was physically in this theater - I was overweight. I remember being so incredibly uncomfortable in the seats. Today, I sat in the seat more than comfortably, and didn't give it a second thought...until I noticed the people around me.

         Please, reserve judgement until you finish reading this post.

         To my left, in the same row I was in a few seats down from me was a really large man. He had a large bucket of popcorn that he was eating almost compulsively. I mentally noted he didn't seem to be tasting or savoring the popcorn. It was mechanical. Hand, popcorn, mouth, repeat. Absolutely no thought going into the literally hundreds of calories he was consuming. 
    ( Researchers found movie theater popcorn offerings range from 400 to 1,200 calories, with one to three days' worth of saturated fat and up to 1,500 milligrams of sodium. Make it a combo and add 300 to 1,110 empty calories worth of candy and another 150 to 500 calories from a sugary soft drink to wash it all down. ) And in the middle of the movie, this man got up with the bucket, went to the lobby, and got a full refill of his tub of popcorn.

         In front of my husband but down a few seats was a really large woman. Literally - and I'm not being mean - I have no idea how she got herself into the seat. She was that big. Her actions during the movie were on the verge of distracting. She had boxes of candy in her purse ( along with the theater popcorn she had bought ) and when she polished off a box of candy, she'd wait 5 minutes or so, reach down, and grab another box. This went on for the 2 1/2 hour duration of the movie.

         I had a really good weekend, nutrition wise. I've eaten almost perfectly Clean for the past 2 weeks or so, and had a likewise stellar weekend. I wasn't about to unwind it over a few minutes of movie theater popcorn, so I pointedly did not reach out to have a handful of my son's popcorn during the theater.

         About 7 years ago, I smoked cigarettes. About a pack a day. I was feeling awful, and slowly but surely weaned myself down to just a few cigs a day. Finally North said to me "If you are only smoking one or two a day, you should quit." - And I did. For the first few weeks after quitting, the sight of someone with a cigarette would make me instantly crave it. But as I got farther and farther away from my last cig - I noticed the sight of  seeing someone smoking was repulsive. Absolutely nauseating. The physical act of raising a cigarette to the lips, drawing in smoke, blowing it out - repulsive. I knew I'd never smoke again.
    I was over my addiction.

         Today I had another of those moments. The sight of these people mindlessly eating, mindlessly gorging- it was repulsive to me. Not them, mind you. The eating. I  saw, with perfect clarity, who I used to be. I saw people not in control of their eating response. I saw people eating without thought or regard to consequence. It hit me, very hard - how far I've come. As we walked out of the theater, my husband asked me what part of the movie I liked the best. I told him that it was the realization that I'll never allow myself to be overweight again. He squeezed my hand, and said "The lady in front of me?" and I nodded. He had seen her. I wasn't just being sensitive. Others had seen - and that made me feel even worse for that poor woman.
         About 32 million more Americans will become obese by 2030, upping obesity rates to 42 percent of the U.S. population, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    The report also predicts that the proportion of Americans who are severely obese, meaning more than 100 pounds overweight, will reach 11 percent, about double the current rate.CDC Obesity Predictions for the US by 2030 - ABC News.

         Watching the conveyor belt of junk food to mouth I witnessed today, it once again struck me. I knew I'd never be overweight again.

    I am over my addiction


    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Link Love Sunday - May 13th, 2011

     - Check out this fabulous method of make ahead healthy crockpot meals! The Clean Eater and the "Be Prepared" chick in me LOVE this idea. Make Ahead Healthy Cockpot Meals - Fill Your Freezer! Take your favorite crockpot recipes and make them even easier!

    - I get shin splints really easily from exercise. Recently I've upped my speed walking regimen ( almost jogging! ) to once a day...and my shin muscles are voicing their displeasure. This site  was mentioned to me as having helpful pre-walking exercises to ease the strain. Helpful, like having a PT right there with me!

    - If you aren't familiar with The Bloggess, perhaps your life is missing something. With over 500,000 unique visitors per month, she's one of the most successful bloggers on the Net. Painfully neurotic and compulsively funny - Jenny Lawson's new memoir is currently at the top of the NYT Bestseller list and she's on book tour ( and coming to my area next week! ) If you aren't easily offended by liberal F bomb applications, I suggest you take a few days and stroll through her archives to get yourself up to date. Her writing is addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you.( How can you not love someone has a cat named Ferris Mewler   a 6' metal chicken statue named Beyonce,  and a ridiculously odd obsession with small taxidermied animals? )

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    The Citrus Fruit Missing From Your Grocery Cart: The Lemon

         If you regularly leave fresh lemons at the grocery store in favor of oranges, grapefruits, and're missing out on a Clean food that will not only enhance your favorite Clean foods, it will keep you healthy.

    1. Constipation and diarrhea relief. Lemons help cleanse the digestive track and allow food to digest properly.
    2. Lemons aid in the production of antibodies in the blood that attack invading microorganisms and prevent infection.
    3. Lemon is found to be anti carcinogenic, which can lower the rates of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
    4. Because of its high potassium content, lemon controls high blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea, and provides relaxation to mind and body.
    There are lots of other anecdotal health benefits to lemons and lemon juice. I'm not going to list them; I really only like to cite known health benefits.

     A few ideas for that lemon in your grocery cart:

    - Squeeze half into 20 oz of ice cold water to give it a very slight lemon taste. Not overwhelming, but not straight water either. Great for people who don't care for plain water. Many people firmly believe a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning "kick starts" their metabolism for the day.
    - Squeeze lemons over seafood ( a classic pairing ),  as an ingredient in your homemade salad dressings, or as a nice zing over things like broccoli or edamame.
    - Try experimenting with a squeeze of lemon in an unexpected place: over roasted chicken,  a baked sweet potato, or even in your morning oatmeal. You never know until you try!

      Thursday, May 10, 2012

      DIY Almond Butter

      Almond butter rocks - I mean, is delicious stuff. I've tried Justin's Maple Flavored Almond Butter and love it to bits. I've also tried Archer Farm's ( Target brand ) almond butter and loved that, too. But almond butter is incredibly calorie dense. At about 100 calories per tablespoon, a little more than a scoop of almond butter will have you staring at the scale with a scowl on your face.

      Imagine my surprise when I heard about DIY almond butter. I was skeptical, I was dubious - but I had to try it.
      I went to the grocery store and bought a small bag of almond meal ( it wasn't really easy to find, but ultimately found it at a store that has a large organic / natural selection ), and brought it home to meet the almond milk in my fridge.

      The results were delightful! The mock almond butter is about 45 calories a tablespoon compared to the real thing, which is 100 calories. NICE!

      DIY Almond Butter

      1/2 cup almond meal

      1/4 cup almond milk
      sweetener to taste, optional

      Mix almond milk and almond meal until combined. If the mixture seems too thin, toss it in the microwave for 30 seconds until thick. You can also add less liquid and/or throw the mixture into the refrigerator until thickened. Add sweetener ( stevia, preferably ) to taste as desired.

      The recipe begs to be fiddled with, too. Cinnamon? Sure! Maple syrup? Can do! ( just be aware you're going to jack the calories up with the sugar... ) Cardamom? I bet it would be delicious.

      Thanks so much, Food

      Wednesday, May 9, 2012

      Have You Tried Wheat Germ?

      Every time a poor kernel of wheat gets processed into white flour - something tragic happens. The germ and bran of the wheat kernel are stripped away - cast from the endosperm, which is quickly whisked away from it's wheaten brethren to become a loaf of Wonder Bread somewhere. But what of the wheat germ?

      Won't someone think of the wheat germ?

      If you haven't bought a jar of wheat germ to play around with, you don't know what you are missing! Packed with vitamins and nutrients, wheat germ is the PERFECT vehicle to sneak nutrition into your family's meals.

      Wheat germ generally comes packed in jars, like this:

      When you get it out of the jar, and into your hand, you'll be a little flummoxed by it's lightweight quality. It takes about 60 pounds of wheat to make 1 pound of wheat germ - that's how small it is! There's not much to it - but there is a LOT going on in that small package. Wheat germ contains 35% of your recommended daily allowance of iron, and has 14 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving. Wheat germ has phytosterols, which are actually steroid compounds similar to cholesterol. These phytosterols can lower unhealthy cholesterol and promote a healthy heart.

      My husband tilted a little into his hand and tasted it. He deemed it "nutty tasting sawdust." We laughed, but he admitted that he could see it mixed into a breaded coating ( like on fish or chicken ) and you'd never know it was there. Then he walked out of the kitchen . I stared at the man as he left, a bit dumbfounded. He's the natural chef in the family.

      If you want the nutrition from whole grains without eating a lot of bread ( or you don't have access to a good CE bread baked commercially ), sprinkle a little wheat germ around.

      Try it in yogurt ( that's my personal favorite right now ), in a panko breadcrumb mixture as a coating for chicken, fish, or veggies, in your next meatloaf or meatball batch, or in a protein or whey shake. Bump up a multigrain pancake recipe with some wheat germ. Check out this list of recipes over at
      But most of all - try it. This little bit of nutty sawdust will be like a lightbulb going off in your head - and you'll wonder why you didn't try it sooner. It's exactly how I feel...I can't believe I didn't try wheat germ sooner.

      Tuesday, May 8, 2012

      12 More Visual Portion Cues to Estimate Serving Sizes!

      I just love these visual cues. They help keep me in check from serving myself too much!

      Here's one my crossover gun blogger readers will like. A serving of turkey sausage is the same size as a shotgun shell!

      A serving of butter ( you don't still use margarine, do you?? ) is the same size as the top joint of your thumb ( for men, this seems like a lot...I've got small hands. What if you are Lurch? )

      A serving of mashed potatoes is the same size as half of an apple on your plate.

      A serving of cubed cheese is the same size as 4 dice.

      A serving of spaghetti and meatballs ( whole grain spaghetti and turkey meatballs, please! ) is the size of a clenched fist.

      Ok, so this is ice cream. Clean Eaters don't eat ice cream. But if you did...a serving is the size of a tennis ball. No more than that!

      A serving of soup is about the same size as a baseball. It's not a gigantic, bottomless bowl, no matter what the Olive Garden commercials tell you...

      Veggie Dips - a difficult item to mentally picture a serving size - unless you keep in mind that the 2 tablespoon serving size has about the same volume as a golf ball.

      A serving of casserole for a main meal ( ok, a lasagna is shown here. Don't get too hung up on that! ) is about the same size as 2 hockey pucks put together.

      A serving of organic mozzarella balls ( bocconcini )is about the same size as a Ping-Pong ball. 

      A single serving of dry pasta has the same circumference as a quarter - not a fistful of pasta!

      An old rule of thumb - a serving of beef is about the same size as a pack of playing cards. 

      Thank you,!

      Monday, May 7, 2012

      Newstand Alert: Clean Eating Magazine June 2012

      The June issue of Clean Eating Magazine is hitting newstands now. There seem to be a lot of snackie / borderline foods in this month's issue ( A CE version of a S'more? "Guilt Free Lime Cheesecake Squares" ? Seriously?? )

       Here are the top other articles that caught my eye.

      1. I like kitchen tools that are multi-functional. CE has listed multiple uses for a salad spinner that are actually do-able - straining yogurt for cheese, washing fruits and veggies. ( However, washing my delicate unmentionables in a salad spinner is a bit of a stretch, even for me. )

      2. I like Robin Miller, a former Food Network chef who hosted a long running series called Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller where she would cook once, but make 3 meals out of it ( for example , cooking a large chicken, and using the meat 3 ways ). Her 15 chicken recipes starting on page 45 are not overly step or ingredient heavy - but I personally prefer to see the list of ingredients at the top of the recipe, followed by step by step instructions. However, the Chicken Tetrazzini caught my eye, as did Chicken Sloppy Joes.

      3. The recipe on the front cover looks tasty - Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs. I like to cook thighs; they are less expensive and
      ( in my opinion ) moister and more flavorful than white meat. I like the look of the cover recipe!

      4. CE introduces their first ever "Foodie Awards" where they list the best Clean options for various categories in the grocery store. Among them: Chips/Crackers/Snacks, "Best Butters" ( meaning peanut or nut butters ), Noodles & Grains,  Breakfast Picks, Pantry Staples, Dairy, Frozen Foods, Sauces & Condiments, and Sweeteners. While a lot of their top picks are what I consider to be Clean - some are not. Use the list of foods wisely, read labels in the store, and judge whether a specific item is right for your specific pantry.

      5. Last but not least - I was thrilled to see a friend of a friend highlighted as the CE chef of the month - Spike Gjerde, who with his brother ran one of my favorite Baltimore restaurants back in the day ( the long closed Spike & Charlie's ). He has another restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen in Northern Baltimore. He's focusing on locally sourced foods, and a much Cleaner food menu. Um - can you say "road trip?" Check out his Meatless Monday recipe: a navy bean casserole.