Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Health Food or Healthy Food??

Sorry about the wait!  This post is mostly going to be about how to get more vegetables and whole foods in your diet and help get your 'meat and potatoes' guys to be good with it!  See this post if you are interested in getting more produce in your diet and this post for ideas on eating it!!!  If you read the post entitled 'Secrets!' you will remember that people are often afraid of words and change!  Guys are no exception!  Men have just as much emotional attachment to food as women.  When you express to a man who typically eats what the standard American eats that you are going to overhaul (or any other synonym) their diet, a wall goes up.  In my experience and that of others I know, men can get defensive about their food.  I don't mean this in a disrespectful way at all, we women do it too but it is often different for a male because he isn't the one who controls the food bought at the store or what is cooked.  That presents a certain vulnerability along with the general fear everyone has when it comes to changing your diet.  He hears the words 'eat healthier' or 'changing our diet' and he immediately thinks you are taking away all of the delicious food that he loves and replacing it with disgusting, tasteless, cardboard food.  Can you blame him?  Isn't that what we are conditioned to think eating healthy is supposed to be like?  Isn't health food supposed to taste like cardboard?  Aren't we supposed to hate it?  The answer is NO!!!!!  There is a difference between so-called 'health food' and actual 'healthy food!'  Knowing what I do now, I am astonished at what I used to consider healthy!  The more I continue to learn, the more I wonder why this information is still absent mainstream, though it is getting better!  When you eat food in, or as close to, it's natural state as possible it tastes better and is better for you!  Win-win-win right? (hehe love that Michael Scott!)  Whole foods are far different than 'health foods!'  Boca Burgers, Crystal Light, Splenda, Power Bars, Slim Fast, Tofu, Whole Grain White Bread (what is that!?),  'Low fat', 'Fat Free', 'Sugar Free'.....NOTSOMUCH!!!!!!  You're going to be eating as much food as possible in the state it was meant to be eaten!  Not all of this altered, enriched, modified junk I will henceforth refer to as 'Plastic!'  I am a firm believer in educating yourself about what goes into your body so please see the post 'Making Changes' for a list of books that I recommend, though that is nowhere near a comprehensive list!  There are so many great and informative books out there!  Let's get to the food!!!!!

Your loved ones will be more willing to try these new and healthier foods if you don't present them as a replacement for foods that they already love!  You're adding tons of great foods to your repertoire!  Show them how much food they've been missing! When you introduce something that is new or different make sure to have a meal that has already been tested and approved for the following day or as a side dish.  If you change everything all at once you are going to have a mutiny on your hands and a mutinous first mate going through food withdrawal is bad news!!!  As I mentioned in a previous post, it is a good idea to make the really big changes one at a time.  If you are giving up cows milk for instance, find other foods that are delicious and enjoyable to replace it.  Soon it won't be missed, and this is coming from a former milk addict!  When it was just my husband and me, we went through 4-5 gallons of milk a week! 

In my experience men seem to have a certain attachment to meat, especially red meat.  I don't know if I will ever understand this, but it's true!  Try to aim for at least two meatless meals a week and make sure they are not too exotic to start out!  Make a meatless chili, soup or lasagna for instance.  If he knows there are 5 days left in the week that he can have some kind of meat product, you may not have as much opposition to try your new meatless meal!  If he absolutely won't go for it, try making more dishes with white meat chicken.  Instead of doing separate meals for your family, try making a meatless meal for you and the kids and add chicken just to your husband's meal as in this fabulous chili! 

This sounds sneaky but really it's ok!!  (whispers) Don't tell him what's in it!  Or more importantly, don't tell him what isn't!!!  Of course I don't recommend you try and put all kinds of things you know he hates in his meal.  There is a difference between the things he doesn't think he will like and the things he actually really dislikes.  If he really and truly hates onions, don't add them!  If he thinks he hates onions but has never really tried them, go for it!  Get it?  There is something else that you should know!  Our taste buds need to detox (for lack of a better word!)  Once you start giving them foods that aren't plastic they really open up.  It's like your taste buds have had this massive sinus infection for years and then one day everything just clears out and food will have SO much flavor!  It will taste so much better and you will wonder why you ever ate that other 'stuff' before!  I promise!  So if something doesn't go well the first time, maybe make a few alterations and try again later!  Everyone's tastes are different and not every new meal you try is going to be fabulous, there will be some you just won't like.  But isn't that true with all foods?  Trust me though, there are SOOOOOO many that you will absolutely love!

If you think it would help him to be involved in the choosing process, let him help you!  This goes for kids too!  Go through recipes together!  My husband loooooves food pictures, so in the beginning if I wanted to try something new and the recipe had a great picture with it.....he was game! (I think we are all that way!)  It's actually a lot of fun looking for new recipes!

I always look for places I can hide vegetables!  Tomato sauce is a great way to add veggies without opposition!  Try something like this!  You can have raw tacos and set up a buffet.  Let everyone pick what they want to add to their tacos!  Start with the lettuce wraps (sprouted multi grain tortillas or corn if you are gluten free will work also!) then add the 'meat'.  Have bowls with sliced avocado (leave a pit in the bowl to prevent browning), olives, tomatoes, peppers, shredded goat cheddar or any other toppings you would like sitting out buffet style!  They'll love it!  You can do the same with pizza!  Make a great pizza crust for each person in the family.  You can use something like this if you are gluten free!  Partially bake the dough (I hate the word 'crust') and let everyone add the toppings they want before baking it again!  We had this little beauty on Sunday!
Gluten free veggie pizza!  I want some now actually!!!!  Start with things like this.  Everyone loves pizza right?  You can also do other things that sound appealing.  Humans have a strong language affiliation so words like Chili Cheese Dip make our mouths water.  Nobody will even care that it isn't 'traditional' chili dip!  It's DELICIOUS!

If the idea of the collard wraps turns them off, just slice up the vegetables and go to town without the wraps!  You will quickly have many new favorites!  I know we do!!!!!

As far as packaged products go, please get in the habit of reading labels!  Not just reading them but understanding the ingredients!  Don't buy something if you don't know what's in it!  We have grown up thinking that if something is packaged that it's fine.  A company wouldn't want to put anything in our food that would harm us, so who cares if you can't pronounce anything on the label?  NO!  We need to stop thinking this way!  If you aren't sure what it is, don't buy it!  Try to stick to my favorite rule:  Packaged products should contain 5 or less readable ingredients!  It isn't always easy and sometimes I cave and buy some things that don't fit this description, but I do try really hard!  I find that the products that do fit this bill actually taste better anyway!  Start ridding your pantry of refined sugars, sweeteners, and flours!  Use real foods in your baked goods and recipes....pure maple syrup, raw agave nectar, raw honey and cane sugar are great!  Use whole or multigrain flour, breads and pastas if you aren't gluten free.  If you are gluten free, there are lots of other options made with gluten free grains!  You don't have to eat white rice everything!  Use brown rice breads and pastas.  Plenty of other grains like quinoa, amaranth, wild rice and corn make fantastic side dishes and pasta noodles! 

Here are lots more recipes and ideas to get you going....

I've mentioned her before but Angela of Oh She Glows is a genius!  Check out everything she has in her recipes section!
Sweet Potato Fries  when I make these I use only almond butter and they are delish!  My little girl loves them!

Mexican Tortilla Pie

Creamy Alfredo and Shells  I love the nut-based pasta sauces!  Obviously some of these recipes need to be converted to gluten free, but it's usually quite simple to do this!

Mandarin, Pecan, Almond and Cranberry Salad

Those are just a few from her site!

Gena of Choosing Raw has a fantastic recipe for kale salad.  It is soooooooo good and goes with any meal!
Massaged Kale Salad
About 3-4 generous cups washed and chopped kale
¼ avocado
2 tbsp olive oil (or as needed)
1 lemon
1 small tomato, chopped
½ large carrot, grated
Sea salt
Pour 2 tbsp (more if needed) olive oil over kale, and sprinkle with
sea salt as desired. With clean hands, “massage” the kale so that all
of the oil is coating it and it begins to “wilt.” Throw in the avocado
and massage it, too, so that the whole bowl of kale becomes well
coated with oil and avocado. Sprinkle on lemon juice as desired (I
like a lot), and throw in tomato, carrots, and any other veggies you
desire! Top with nutritional yeast or sesame seeds if you like. I
modify this salad a lot, but it’s a crucial staple in my diet.

Try making some mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes!  You could always add a cheezy sauce to them if eating the mash as is seems unappealing!

Yummy potato and greens salad!

Hummus is a great dip for veggies!  You can make lots of variations to this basic recipe as well!  Try this Red Pepper version!

Here is a great recipe for some veggie lasagna from 'The Raw Food Detox Diet'
-12 spelt or whole grain lasagna noodles cooked al dente (we use GF lasagna noodles!!!)
-25 ounces organic pasta sauce!
-4-6 ounces raw goat cheddar, shredded (optional)
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-1 zucchini, thinly sliced
-1 eggplant, thinly sliced
-10 fresh spinach leaves ( I use baby spinach so I end up with a lot more than 10 leaves!)
-3/4 cup packed fresh basil (I personally do not love basil so this is omitted for us!)

*Preheat oven to 350.  In a large baking dish, layer lasagna, sauce, some cheese (if using), garlic, vegetables, and basil.  Repeat as necessary and top with goat cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes. 

This freezes really well!  (you know how I feel about freezable meals!!!)  Just thaw and bake uncovered! 

There are so many great recipes out there!  Before long you will have many favorites and even make your own tasty creations!  The library is a fantastic resource as well!  Lots of vegan, vegetarian and raw food books are just waiting for you to peruse them!  Go eat your veggies!!!!!!!!!!


  1. i am going to try making some nut-based pasta sauce in my set of dinners :) and i think some smoothies are in our future, for sure.

  2. Hooray!!!! I love both and the great thing is, you can alter them any way you want to suit your tastes!