Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I buy grass-fed beef

I know a lot of people think meat is just meat and that regardless of an animal's diet, the nutritional value is the same. I happen not to be one of them. I believe it not only matters what the animal was fed but also where it was raised and how it was treated. In my opinion, our society is far too comfortable with feedlots and factory meat.

Regarding beef specifically, we don't eat it often but when we do, it's always grass-fed. Grass-fed beef/products provide real health benefits over grain-fed. Grass-fed products are:

- Lower in fat and calories
- Higher in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Richest known source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
    In addition to having a better nutritional profile, grass-fed cows are healthier. Click here and here for the source of this info and to read more.

    Of course grass-fed beef and other grass-fed products cost more. Sigh. In my area, ground beef is typically $2-$3 more a pound unless it's on sale. As I was in line at Whole Foods last week they announced a special on grass-fed beef - $4.99 a pound. If my cart wasn't already half unloaded, I would have picked up my son, ran back to the meat department and grabbed a pound or two. Now that I'm writing this, I probably could have asked the cashier to have someone get it for me. Oh well.

    If you haven't tried grass-fed beef, I suggest you give it a shot. You'll taste the difference and benefit from its higher nutritional value. And if you eat beef more frequently, you should definitely make the switch.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    How do you navigate the supermarket?

    Sticking to the perimeter of the typical chain grocery store is definitely the healthiest route. Although that doesn't mean its void of processed/packaged foods but they're definitely out numbered by real food. In addition to the center aisles being a minefield of highly processed foods, the checkout is another treacherous spot. Even Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are guilty of the strategically placed, packaged, impulse buy items such as organic lollipops and boxed cookies. That's not saying I am against organic lollipops because I consider them a treat and a "Medium Food" but I am aware that its placement is a standard supermarket tactic.

    Here's a great little spot with Michael Pollan about navigating the typical supermarket. He briefly explains where and why items are placed as they are at the grocery store. It's good information and interesting too.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Picky, picky

    I'm getting pickier about what's in our lunch bag. And it's presenting more challenges. There are plenty of "medium food" items that I'm still okay with but the list is getting shorter. I suppose it's a natural evolution. As I get more educated about food, the pickier I will become.

    My boys and I spend most of our week on the go and not at home. I can't leave our place without plenty of options for us but if I do, which does happen more often than I'd like to admit, our meals are not balanced nor as plentiful as they should be. Lunch for the boys right now is usually a turkey (Diestel brand is a must) and cheese sandwich, organic yogurt and organic strawberries or other fruit. If I'm out of or forget any one of these items, lunch is lacking. Even if I have a few extra minutes to quickly pick something up, it needs to be substitutes that meet my requirements. Not so easy anymore.

    As this evolution continues, my organization and meal planning abilities need to improve. I also need a plan B and C to ensure all my bases are covered. As I work on these skills and develop my plans, I'll report back. The never-ending challenge of time and money will continue to be my biggest hurdles. And, hey, if you have any tips or strategies on the subject, I certainly would appreciate hearing about them.

    PS: Cute little lunch bag above, hu? I was turned onto these bags by Catherine at Weelicious. I don't own one yet but I'm saving for one - the one pictured above in fact. You can check them out here.

    Monday, May 2, 2011


    I'm always on the lookout for healthy convenience foods to add to my medium food arsenal and I'm thrilled to have found another. While checking out one of Catherine's lunches on the Weelicious facebook page, I saw something she listed as Somersaults. I had no idea what they were so I looked them up. To my delight, they were a healthy snack made right here in Northern California.

    Somersaults are little "crunchy nuggets with sunflower seeds & toasted grains" and they are so delicious. Addictive even. Both my boys liked them and the hubby too. I've never seen them at Whole Foods or any other stores in my area but found them on Amazon. They offer a bulk pack of six bags for $15.42. That's $2.57 a bag. That's about average.

    I just love it when I find decent convenience items I can feel good about giving my kids. Not to mention a great snack option for me and the husband. I would definitely recommend Somersaults to anyone looking for a healthy snack. Each serving has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. I will caution you though, it may be tough not to polish off the entire bag (6 servings) in one sitting so be mindful when eating these little guys. I find throwing a serving (15) in a bowl or snack bag really helps!

    Ingredients: Sunflower Seeds, Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Sesame Seeds, Vital Wheat Gluten, Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Chicory Root Fiber, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt. Contains Wheat.