Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Cook Whole Food From Scratch--and Keep Your Day Job!

I thought this was a GREAT article and decided to post it in it's entirety here.  I find in my holistic practice that people really want to eat well, but time and money are always limiting factors.  This well written article helps overcome some of those obstacles.  

How to Cook Whole Food From Scratch -- and Keep Your Day Job!

By Colleen Huber

Whole fresh foods should be the basis of what we all eat, whether your metabolic type is protein type, carb type or mixed type. Whole foods, whether meat, vegetable or fruit, do two things: they provide all the nutrients that nature put into the food--not just as a sum of nutrients, but even more, as a synergy of nutrients that work together because they naturally interact within the living plant or animal. When we eat these foods, which have been connected with our whole existence as a species, the total health benefit to us is much greater than the sum of the parts. The second practical advantage of eating whole fresh foods is that they substitute, by their sheer bulk, the chemicals and denatured food derivatives that we might otherwise eat.

But you work non-stop and when you get home there is no time or energy to do anything but nuke half-synthetic processed food in the microwave. How do we get into that trap?
According to Dr. Kenneth Proefrock, NMD, a huge part of the problem is not knowing what you’re going to eat on Thursday night until ... Thursday night. By that time, you’re lucky if you even make it home for dinner because your tummy rang the dinner bell back around Exit 128, and there just happen to be about four fast food outlets off that exit, as well as at the next exit coming up. (Funny how those fast food places are right there when the stomach growls.)

Here’s a big key, says Dr. Proefrock, to getting out of that trap. Plan on the weekend what you will eat for every meal the coming week. Your menu does not have to be set in stone; you can leave room to juggle for spontaneity now and then, but at least provide for enough of your own homemade food to eat each time you get hungry.

So how do you make your own homemade whole food and keep your day job too?
Here are several steps you can take to streamline your efforts and maximize the productivity of your kitchen, while keeping your time spent there to a minimum.

1. Clear enough freezer space--about one cubic foot--to store several pint and quart- size containers of the food you will cook. Then on the weekend, plan all of your meals for the week, and go to the supermarket once to purchase the whole food ingredients in one trip. Consolidating all grocery shopping into one trip already saves time over shopping for a few items everyday.  Plus, with whole foods, you only need to go around the periphery of the supermarket where they are located, rather than taking time to go up and down the interior aisles where the processed foods are.

Once you’ve brought home all the groceries, cook all your meals for the week at the same time. This way, instead of standing at the stovetop each day for each meal, you are there for one longer session during that week, and then you’re done!

2. The trick is to cook big portions, but freeze in the smaller quantities that you and your family will eat throughout the week. If you cook for a family, a large recipe will probably be good for two dinners (on alternate days) during the week, as well as a lunch or two. If you live alone, you will get at least four meal portions with half of them saved for the following week. At this point you don’t have to spend any more time throughout the week than you would on TV dinners.

3.  A food processor will work well for foods that you want to chop finely. Make freezer bags full of pre-cut vegetables that you can then defrost as needed during the week. One bag might contain pressed garlic with coarsely chopped string beans, which a few days from now you can sauté in coconut oil for a few minutes.

 Another bag might contain chopped carrots, onions and tomatoes, along with cabbage that you cut into quarters. Sprinkle some caraway seeds into the bag. When you’re ready to make a meal of it, you can cook it a portion of it in a cup of chicken broth for a delicious meal of balanced nutrients.

4.  Make use of large cooking vessels in order to accomplish the weekend cooking fiesta. A large crockpot really lends itself well to a whole foods diet. Here you don’t need a food processor.  Chop vegetables very coarsely, in much larger chunks than you can get away with in a stovetop meal. This step alone saves a lot of time. Put an organic beef round or two turkey legs or a whole organic chicken on top of the vegetables, add a few cups of water, and/or tomato sauce, perhaps with balsamic vinegar. Sesame oil and tamari may be used instead for marinade. Add whole leaf herbs as you like, and you’re done. After practicing once or twice, you will have a huge crockpot meal thrown together in five to 10 minutes. Set it on "low" in the morning, and you’re done till dinnertime. In cool weather, you could do the same in the regular oven, with a Dutch oven type covered pot in fewer hours.

5.  Now it’s a Tuesday morning, and you’ll need something for dinner. Defrost one of the meals you prepared on the weekend. In the evening when you’re ready to cook it, place it into a serving dish in a toaster oven rather than a microwave. Toaster ovens have several advantages over microwaves. At about $40 they are much cheaper, smaller, and quieter. However, those benefits are far outweighed by the health advantage: microwave rays are unhealthy radiation, and when you microwave in a plastic container, it drives the phthalates of the plastic right into your food, which gives an otherwise excellent meal a toxic twist that you definitely do not need.

Microwave radiation also leaks throughout the whole kitchen from most microwave ovens, which creates an unhealthy atmosphere for adults, children and pets. For re-heating in your toaster oven, you’ll need one or two Pyrex-type serving dishes, about a liter each. Heating leftovers for two or three people in a toaster oven takes 10 to 15 minutes, not very much longer than a microwave.

6.  Also use your toaster oven for breakfast. Take out some of the freezer vegetables you prepared, and sprinkle some cheese, raw is preferable, over top, and heat it up for a healthy whole food breakfast, or break an egg over the vegetables. Neither of these will spike your insulin levels, unlike so many other dishes that we unfortunately have become accustomed to thinking of as breakfast foods.

7.  Use your toaster oven to prepare hot, healthy lunches for yourself and your family. Invest in a good-sized thermos with either glass or stainless steel (not aluminum) interior for each family member. While eating breakfast, heat up leftovers from last night, or a separately defrosted meal in your serving dish in the toaster oven, again for 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon it into each thermos. Then in each lunchbox, add a fork and little containers of nuts or some fresh fruit or some celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or carrot sticks.

You all will then have lunches that will be wonderfully nutritious, well balanced, and appetizing for every adult and child in your family. When all lunches are prepared together assembly-line style, the process will go faster than if each lunch is made separately. And your savings will begin to be obvious as your restaurant and fast food expenses plummet toward zero.

8.  Take advantage of savings on seasonal produce. Get organic whenever possible. It has been by steadily rising consumer demand that growers have begun to get more and more organic produce into your local stores.

Here is a way to extend the seasonal savings. Fruit preserves can be made unsweetened, and rely only on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Buy a case of about four pounds of berries when in season. Also buy three Granny Smith apples for pectin, which is a natural jelling agent. Peel and core the apples. Cut into about 1/2-inch cubes. Place the apple pieces in a large pot, with about three pounds of washed and stemmed (if necessary) berries. (Keep the other one pound fresh for snacking.)

Simmer the berries and apples on low for about an hour while you are preparing your week’s worth of meals. At the end of an hour, you should have a thin fruit spread. Take a potato masher and mash any remaining chunks of apple and berries as desired. Let it cool. The texture will get a little thicker. Freeze it in pint-size containers. This makes a nice fruit spread that will keep indefinitely. You may be surprised that the berry flavor is plenty sweet enough without added sweetener.  You can spread this with a nut butter on slices of apple or pear for breakfast or snacks.

9.  Don’t forget condiments. How often have you bought a bunch of parsley or cilantro with the good intention of using all of it, only to find most of it forgotten and wilted two weeks later, shoved behind other foods?

When it’s still fresh, chop it up finely and store in Ziploc-type bags in the freezer. Then you can access it as needed for the one teaspoonful you may want, without having it wilt away before you get a chance to use it. But if you really want fresh herbs, grow them. My favorite Greek salad dressing calls for mint, oregano and parsley, which fortunately are all easy to grow, so I make sure I always have at least one plant of each growing, and I harvest sprigs each time I make the dressing. The fragrance alone of the just-picked herbs are what make the salad.

10.  For the crockpot, food processor, thermoses and toaster oven recommended above you may spend about $130. In order to recoup that investment, do yourself a huge favor and change your mindset about potable liquids. There is really no good reason to drink anything other than water (R.O filtered or spring water). In fact, when we drink other liquids, we train ourselves to slake our thirst with different tastes than water, which then makes the taste of water seem strange. Since our bodies are 90 percent water, the only thing strange about this is our acquired perception of water as strange.

Leave the heavy and expensive juices, teas, lattes and liquor at the store. Water is the only substance that can quench both the thirst we feel and the dehydration that almost everyone experiences to one degree or another. Drink it as you like it, with ice or without, with lemon or without, but reacquaint yourself with the one beverage that hydrates and moisturizes all the way in to the cellular level and out to the skin: water.

When it comes to meal preparation, many people feel that their own lifestyle and difficult or hectic life circumstances keep them from attempting to cook. What is so beneficial about preparing your own whole, healthy food using some of the above steps is that any able-bodied adult can do it.

Cooking big but freezing small is the best way for a single person to enjoy fully balanced home-cooked meals. For a busy parent with children of various ages, the kids can be recruited to help, and in turn receive the nutrients they most desperately need.
Even toddlers can peel carrots, while older children can wash and chop foods. Some of our warmest childhood memories are from ordinary days and activities together with family members in the kitchen. Bestow the goodness on them too; pass the tradition to the next generation so that cooking does not become just another lost art. 

Do any of you have any time and cost saving ideas to share??

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Sponsor: Thinner, Leaner, Stronger

Please join me in welcoming Living A Whole Life's newest sponsor Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews.  I downloaded this book this week and am really enjoying reading it.  If you want to break some of those old weight loss myths and finally get down to the basics of exercise, eating, and fitness; you need to read this great book.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Green Smoothies

Here's a post we published almost 4 years ago, but the basics of Green Smoothie making never get old.  Green smoothies are quick food and packed with easily absorbable nutrition.  I've recently started using a Nutribullet Extractor and love the smoothies it makes. 

If you haven't heard of a green smoothie or maybe you just haven't tried one yet, you're in for a treat.

By adding a green smoothie to your daily routine, you are increasing the amount of whole plant foods in your diet in a way that is both easy and delicious. I love a green smoothie after my workout. It boosts my mood and my energy level knowing how many great vitamins and minerals I have just taken in.

Here is my favorite Green Smoothie recipe. There are many out there and I will share others as I try them myself. You can get creative too! Mix your favorite fruits and any great green veggies you like.

Put the following ingredients into your blender:
1 cup water or nut milk
Ice (optional - I skip it if I am using frozen fruit)
1 banana
Fresh or frozen fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc.)
Large handful of greens like fresh spinach leaves, parsley, or romaine lettuce
Handful of nuts or seeds

Blend well and enjoy!

Make it kid friendly - we call it "Flower Power" at our house and the girls think it is cool to add the spinach as though they are the leaves of a flower.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zuchini Crust Pizza

I love this recipe for Zucchini Crust Pizza.  It's easy to make, full of nutrition and tastes so yummy.  Top it with all your favorite pizza toppings and it's a great meal on the go!


5 medium zucchini grated

3 eggs, well beaten

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste

pizza sauce

favorite pizza toppings, cheese, meats, etc.


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Drain the grated zucchini. Place the zucchini pulp in mixing bowl with eggs, flour and seasonings. Mix thoroughly.

3.  Spread the mix onto a prepared, greased pan and bake for 8 minutes.  Another easy clean-up is to bake the crust on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

4.  Remove from oven. Top with favorite pizza sauce and favorite pizza toppings.

5.  Return to oven and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

6.  Cut and serve. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Homeopathic Cough Syrup

This is a post previously published in December of 2008 I thought I would recycle as it pertains to a great flu season remedy.  I'm happy to report that the 2 preschoolers are now solidly into elementary; colds and flus rarely get us down; but when they do, this homeopathic cough syrup is still a favorite!  

I have 2 preschoolers and one thing you can count on in the fall is the start of cold season. There will be coughing, runny noses, and all kinds of yuck. I went many years with hardly a cold, but now with mini Petri dishes running around my house, I’m good for several good cold bouts. I caught a good one a couple of weeks ago that involved lots of coughing and not sleeping and found myself wandering around a CVS store of all places for help. I’m really excited about a new product I discovered there and want to tell you about it. It’s a homeopathic cough syrup made by a company called Boiron. They call it Children’s Chestal.

As I move toward a healthier lifestyle I’ve tried to avoid using over the counter remedies whenever I can. Many over the counter remedies simply suppress symptoms which are the body’s natural way of telling you there is a problem. Besides that, let’s face it, if most cough syrups were tested side by side with a sip of water, the water would win. They just don’t work.

I’ve recently been introduced to and love Homeopathics. These are natural substances that strengthen the body and allow it to resist bacteria and viruses and fight off colds, flu, and etc. I’m sure I will be talking more about these wonderful products over time.

Anyway, this syrup has 10 different homeopathics in it. I looked them up in my homeopathic book here at home and they all help the body fight off colds and flu and particularly those associated with coughs. I tried the syrup for two nights and I have to tell you, I slept like a baby. I felt rested in the morning and didn’t wake up coughing once.

I hear those in naturopathy talk about how they never get sick and how they rarely if ever go to the doctor. I hope as I head down this road to better health that one day I will be able to say the same thing. In the meantime, it’s nice to have a good natural remedy standing by when I need it.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Flu Season Essentials: Vitamin C Flush


The Vitamin C flush is another great tool to stimulate your lymphatic system, boost immunity and helps your body recover from illness and move a healing protocol ahead quicker.  We all know that Vitamin C is great during times of colds and flu to help the body recover, but few know all the other great qualities of this vitamin which include:
  • Collagen formation
  • Bone, teeth, gum, nail, muscular, ligament and connective tissue health
  • Blood vessel strengthening and reduction of plaque formation in the arteries
  • Increase iron absorption and utilization
  • Strong anti-oxidant which helps prevent cancer and heart disease
  • Natural anti-histamine (in high doses)
  • Lowers cholesterol
I recommend doing this flush at least 4 times a year for preventive maintenance and/or when a cold or flu has set in to speed healing.  It's best to use a powdered form of Vitamin C ascorbate - not buffered with minerals.  I really like Energetix Alka-C for this flush.  You can also find/purchase this product on my Products page.  Most important - drink lots of water.  It's a flush after all.  Drinking lots of water will help pull toxins out of your system and flush them out.  If you use a powdered form of Vitamin C - it can easily be added to a bottle of water and sipped slowly throughout the day.  

This flush is a little harder on the GI tract - at least for the first day - but well worth it.  Starting in the morning, take 1000 mg of Vitamin C.  Every 30 minutes repeat the dose of Vitamin C until (and here comes the hard part) you pass a loose stool or feel some tummy upset.  Sorry that's the bad part.  Make sure that you keep track of how much Vitamin C in total you have taken up to that point.  Take the total mg of Vitamin C ingested and multiply it by 0.75.  This is your daily dose of vitamin C.  If you are depleted or fighting off a cold/virus you can expect this number to be on the high side.  Your daily dose should be divided by 2 or 4 and taken 2-4 times a day.  You can vary how long you take this amount.  You can finish your entire bottle of Vitamin C; only take the high Vitamin C dose until you are feeling better; or continue until you do another "flush" to see if the dosage amount changes.  You can repeat this flush from time to time to see if your Vitamin C needs change or just to boost your immunity when needed. Keeping the Vitamin C levels at your body's optimum level will ensure that your body has the resources to fight any infection that comes your way.  

Happy Flushing!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Easy Fall Applesauce

Here is a great fall recipe that takes very little prep or cook time.  It makes your house smell so yummy too! 


10 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or less)

1 cup organic cane sugar


Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours

To make this a well rounded snack or mini-meal, add some feta cheese, walnuts, or almonds.  Enjoy!
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog is intended to replace the advice of a physician. We recommend consulting a physician before embarking on diet changes or a fitness routine. In addition, we recommend that you thoroughly research alternate points of view and make your own decisions as an informed consumer. You are ultimately responsible for your health.