Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thoughts on Vegetable chips.

Vegetable chips, better than regular chips? 

Vegetable chips; given their name they would seem a healthy and yummy alternative offering more nutrition than the lowly potato chip, but do vegetable chips have any  real advantage over potato chips?

It all depends on the processing of the chip. Read the labels. If it were as simple as take the vegetables slice them, and fry them yes, there would be of some benefit to your health. There are some great products out there on the market, but most of the vegetable chips on the market are made from dehydrated vegetable powders added to potato and or other starches then mixed and mashed together and  a variety of flavorings and preservatives until there is nothing left of the vegetable that began this journey.

Processed and full of chemicals from the beginning, these things are far from healthy. Start with the vegetable powders used.  Many of the dried fruits and vegetables  that are produced  today are not done the old fashioned way. There are too many things added to aid in the process of drying fruits and vegetables. Chemicals are added to improve the texture, color, and flavor, as well as additives to avoid spoilage and aid in quicker drying times. All this chemical stuff just to dry out the vegetables, and we are just beginning to make the vegetable chips.

Once this vegetable infused powder is obtained then it is mixed with large amounts of chemicals, fillers, starches, flavorings etc. to create a mass of "dough" that will be pressed through a machine and will ultimately end up in the deep fryer. Now you take this mass of chemicals with a hint of what used to be vegetable and let it swim in the oil bath, which is more chemicals.  (don't believe me check out how vegetable oils are made). After this process, the chips are usually off to a shower of salt and flavorings (read another chemical bath).  Then off to packaging, which includes more chemicals to preserve them while in the bag.

We eat this stuff thinking that we have done something good for our body. Thinking that somehow because it began as a vegetable it is good for us. Vegetables are good for us because they are living full vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are living and if eaten in this form they give life to us, take away that and mutilate the vegetables in the manner described above and it has no life or energy left to give to you and I.


I think I will stick to real vegetable chips made with thin sliced vegetables, oil, and salt.

I think that they are a hoax offering you very little. It is like the package of vegetable pasta I picked up the other day and looked at the label. On the front it boasted that a 6 oz. serving provided half a vegetable serving. It had a little star by it. I turned the package over to see the real story. On the back of the package it showed that a the serving size was 2 oz. This meant that you needed to eat three servings of pasta to equal half a serving of vegetables. I will stick to real fruits and vegetables.

If you want to check out how vegetable oils are made here are some places to start.

Answerbag, how is vegetable oil produced   The short sweet version
Healthy eating politics how vegetable oil is produced The long version with all the nitty gritty details.


This post shared as part of real food wednesdays

Monday, February 24, 2014

Natural relief for muscle cramps

Tired of muscle cramps? Having them often? Try magnesium. Muscle cramps tend to come upon us when our magnesium/calcium balance is out of sorts. It often shows up as muscle cramps. This advice came in helpful with my third pregnancy. I was having terrible leg cramps at night. The recommendation to increase my magnesium levels was a lifesaver for me.

photo from Bing images
I have been learning all about the benefits of this essential mineral. It is amazing that something so small can have such a profound effect on people. Some of the newest drugs on the market are for restless leg syndrome. I first heard these and thought "what a bunch of crap, making up another disease to get people on your drug."  Then later on I thought, "Hmmm my restless legs and cramping, was it restless leg syndrome? I attributed it my being pregnant, but what if I wasn't pregnant, would it have been restless leg syndrome?" As time has gone on I realized  I did not have restless leg syndrome. I was very magnesium deficient due to three pregnancies close together. There are many that believe that restless leg syndrome is no more than a sign of magnesium deficiency, but there is no real big money to be made in selling something that is already found in nature. Therefore, you have people selling you these drugs which is big money. You may not need expensive drugs, you may just need more magnesium in your life like I did.  The more I study about this vital mineral the more I see the truth.

Herbal encounters  has a great article about magnesium. It explains in part why we get the restless legs and cramping.  It has some suggested foods and other ways to get this mineral into your life.
Getting enough magnesium in your life is crucial. For those who are very deficient and cannot absorb minerals due to digestive issues, or for those who are needing an extra boost of minerals, a magnesium gel or spray can work wonders. You can buy magnesium sprays or gels, or simply make your own. 

Health extremist has a great tutorial on making a magnesium spray. There are also many other websites out there that explain how to do this. It is extremely simple and easy to do. In fact, it is so simple that many would scoff at the notion that something so simple could really work.

Bathing in Epsom salts is also an easy and frugal way to get the benefits of magnesium into your life. An Epsom salt bath before bedtime can alleviate the nocturnal leg cramps. It is also helpful in relaxing the body and helping you sleep better. 


Check out these Epsom salts for a wonderful calming bath. (Sold by Amazon).

Relief MD Epsom Salt Lavender - Calming & Relaxing Soak, 16 oz,(Blue Cross Laboraties) Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, Chamomile, 48 Ounce

You can also check out some of the magnesium gels and sprays also available at Amazon.

Try it and see what happens

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Thank you to my readers.

I want to say thank you to everyone who helps make this blog a success. I love how writing has enriched my life.  I hope that it can enrich other peoples life. I enjoy researching and learning.

If you like life less hurried be sure to check back often as I am back to writing full time. Let your friends know, and be sure to follow on Facebook and twitter where I often share things that are not part of the blog but can be helpful in the quest to live a "good life". 

Follow me on twitter  

Or follow me on Facebook.!/lifelesshurried

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pan fried parsnips

Have you tried parsnips?

Parsnips have been around for ages.  They are an often overlooked vegetable from the past.  Here are  a few links that will help you get to know this wonderful vegetable.
Dave's garden/parsnipsNutrition and you/ parsnipsvegetarians in paradise/ parsnip history

                                                                                                   Photo from Bing images 

My absolute favorite way to eat parsnips is pan fried.  It is so simple and easy.  It reminds me of my dear grandmother who introduced them to me years ago. They are wonderfully sweet and yummy. This is what real food is all about. Simple food prepared with nice clean refreshing flavors that linger.

                                                                                    Photo from Bing images

To make pan fried parsnips you will need......

1 pound of medium sized parsnips
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh ground pepper

1. Peel the parsnips and boil them in lightly salted water until tender this should take about 6-8 minutes. 

2. Cool slightly until they can be handled and slice each parsnip lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat

4. Add the parsnips and cook until lightly brown (about 4 minutes)

5. Sprinkle with the brown sugar

6. Turn over and cook about 4 minutes longer until browned and tender. 

7. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and serve  right away

Serves 4-6

This post shared as part of real food Wednesdays

I love to cook my food in cast iron. This is one of those things recipes that I use my cast iron skillet for.  Lodge is the best cast iron company as far as I am concerned.  Check it out, you can buy a starter set from Amazon. Watch for an upcoming post on how to care for your cast iron.

, , This post contains an affiliate link. You can see the full disclosure by clicking on the privacy policy tab at the top of the page.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Junk out, good food in part 4 Keeping a food journal

In case you missed it
part 1
Part 2 cravings
Part 3 emotional/social eaters

In part 3 we reviewed the emotional and social eater.  It is hard to eat healthy when our brains have created such an emotional bond with junk food and we begin to believe that we can't live without it. Those bonds can be very strong. Breaking those bonds begins with being aware.  Food journaling can be so very insightful as to what is going on with your life and food. It makes us very aware of what we are eating and the reasons behind it.  It is a good place to start.

If you have never done a food journal it is a great time to start one.  It is quite simple. It does not have to be complexIt can be as simple as carrying a small notebook in your purse or briefcase and keeping some notes. There are web pages where you can download and print forms that can help you track food intake. There are also many apps that can help you track your food intake on your smart phone. Whether you choose the old standard notebook, a printable from a web page, or track it with an app on your smart phone, you need to start. It is important to know where you are in order to form a  good game plan to get yourself on track for great health. 

There are a few items that are key to your success with a food journal

                                                                                     Photos in this post come from Bing images

Key 1:   Be honest.  You have to record every thing that you put into your body. Those candies that you ate as you passed the receptionist desk. The three bites you stole from your spouse's or child's plate at dinner. That glug of milk you drank right from the carton. Yes, you have to write it all down, and you have to be honest. If you ate a whole package of cookies do not write down one cookie. Three bowls of cereal in the morning is different than one. You get the idea. If you are going to change it you have to be truthful with yourself.  It can be overwhelming and even painful to look at your food intake in this way, but it is well worth it in the end.

Key 2:  Write it down as you go. It is rather difficult to recall everything you ate during the day in one fell swoop.  It is too easy to forget those little things like those mentioned above. I know a person who actually set a timer to go off every three hours. When the timer went off she would recall the past 3 hours and write it down. It worked for them. For me, I would take an inventory after each meal, and before bedtime. I would write what I ate for that meal and I would recall back to the previous meal being aware of what had happened in between meals. It was enlightening for me as I was a snacker. I would snack and not really be aware of how many snacks I was snitching until I started tracking.  

Key 3: Record your feelings as well as what you ate.  This is especially helpful for the emotional eater. You can learn even more if you record what you are feeling before, and after you eat. This was key for me to fight the emotional cravings. I was able to make correlations between food and my emotional state. While journaling  I was able to identify the habits and break many of them.

Key 4: Be Consistent. If you only record what you eat on the days you are "being good" and ignore the days you are on a binge, it does you no good. Likewise, if you record the weekdays and forget to record the weekends you are missing out on key information. Consistently monitor your food intake for two solid weeks. This will give you a good baseline for where you are.

Once you have a food journal in hand you can begin to go over the data. Start looking for patterns. For example you may notice that you eat more fatty food when feeling stressed. You may notice that when around your family you make good choices, but co-workers are influencing you to the negative, or  maybe it is the other way around. You may notice that you frequent the refrigerator right after getting home from work, or that you snack while waiting for dinner to be on the table. You may find when you eat a large breakfast you tend to skip lunch and then hit the vending machine later in the day. Or it could be that when you eat a sugary breakfast you get a mid morning slump when your blood sugar drops. Two weeks of data should reveal some of these things.

Once you analyze the data, form a good game plan. You  begin to see where your traps are. You can avoid those traps once you are aware. You can form new, better habits. You can get a buddy on board with you. Become aware and make changes for the better.

For me two weeks of tracking gave me plenty to work with. I made some changes and began a journey of better health. During that year that I lost nearly a hundred pounds I did several rounds of journaling. Every couple of months I would journal for another two weeks. It was interesting to see the changes. I was able to see what was working and what was not. I was able to tweak the game plan and was amazed to watch as new patterns emerged.  As Doctor Phil often says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge".   Find out where you are and what needs to change.

Try it, keep a food journal for two weeks. It may be the best thing you ever did for yourself.

 Here are a few resources that may be of help to get you started.

50 plus food tracking apps

Printable food journal pages

food journaling tips


This post shared as part of real food Wednesday

Amazon has many different food journals for sale including one for kids. I have included links below for your convenience.

,, ,,,

this post contains affiliate links you can see the full disclosure by clicking the privacy policy tab at the top of the page.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Salad it's whats for dinner

Want more energy in life? Want better health?

Start with a daily salad.  No, I am not talking about cookie salads, Jell-o salads and other such things. (I live in an area where anything mixed into a  tub of cool whip is called a salad). No, I am not talking about chocolate (which according to the note below some may consider it a salad.) No, I am not talking a bit of iceberg lettuce with cheap cheddar cheese and imitation bacon, topped with a healthy dose of ranch dressing and maybe a tomato slice for color. I am talking real, full of flavor, life giving, yummmmmm kind of salads.

Salads can be anything tossed together.  Truly, it is amazing what you can do in the salad world by combining whatever fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and herbs you have close by. My salads are getting better. I am enjoying different salads and different flavor combos. The kids are doing well with it too. They like to see what Mom will come up with next.  Yes my kids eat salad.  If exposed to good salads, kids (and adults) can learn to enjoy them.

Salads are more than just lettuce. You have to start thinking outside the box. fruits, vegetables, whole  grains, beans, lentils, herbs; they all can go in a salad. Chef Brad's fusion grain cooking show has helped me to learn about some of the less popular grains out there. He often makes salads from the cooked grains. I will include a link to his salad recipes.  My family has discovered they like tabbouleh salad.  It is made from bulgur wheat, chopped vegetables along with healthy amounts of mint and fresh parsley. I have enjoyed making more salads. Salads bring life to my world. 

Take a look at some photos of salads that I found. Notice the variety of ingredients, and textures. Imagine the flavors, and see the endless possibilities (This is just a tiny sampling of what I found.)


                                                                           Photos in this post  courtesy of Bing images

Salads can be very nourishing with the exception of  store bought dressings that many douse their salad in. Processed dressings are really no good for you. They start with cheap flavorless oils then they add a ton of sugar, salt, and flavorings to make it taste edible. Then they add preservatives, and emulsifiers to keep it all together. What you end up with is a major chemical bath for your salad. Who wants that?  Yet this is what people eat on salad every day. People will have a typical salad thinking they are doing good for the body and ruin it with a healthy dose of something like ranch. People will literally make salad dressing soup. They float a little lettuce in their ranch dressing and call it a salad.

Go beyond the ranch dressing. For some of you it is the standard go to dressing for everything. You get tired of salad because they are all the same. All salads taste the same because of the dressing.  If this is you, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Wake up with new flavors by changing up your salad dressing.  There are many options out there I have written a post about making your own salad dressing I will include a link below.

Making your own dressings are so easy.  If you start with a good quality, flavorful oil and vinegar you are nearly there. A bit of salt, pepper is all you need to make a simple vinaigrette. If you prefer creamy dressings, avocado or nuts in a blender can really add  to the dressing, making it more like the creamy dressings we have come to expect on a salad. These things can really have a positive impact on your health.

Are you ready?  Are you willing to try?  Will you give salads a second look in your house? We are really glad we did.  We eat a lot less starchy side dishes because we have replaced them with salads. Our health is better because of it. You too can have better health by making salads a major part of your daily diet.

 I have included a bunch of helpful links below to help you get started.
My dressing tutorial

Chef Brad salad recipes

101 salads for the seasons (New York Times)

101 cookbooks

Happy salad making!  

This post shared as part of real food wednesdays

Monday, February 10, 2014

Junk out, good food in part 3 The emotional/social eater

In case you missed it,
Junk out part 1
Junk out part 2

Last week we talked about cravings.  Physical/internal cravings for food can be overwhelming, but they can seem "over the top" when mixed with emotional cravings and social situations. Getting those primal cravings under control can help you to begin to manage the emotional and social overeating to help you win the war on food cravings.   


The younger version of me was a real mess!  I was on a wild rollercoaster ride of cravings. It was so hard. I tried to get the cravings under control but there were so many voices and so many factors controlling my cravings pulling me every which way. People would give suggestions, but it would usually only address one part of the craving battle. I would work on my willpower to overcome the cravings caused in a social setting. For example, not eating cake at a birthday party. I would feel empowered for a moment, but a few hours later I would have such a sugar/carb craving and start thinking about the cake that I missed out on, I would devour half a dozen doughnuts. There was so much going on, it seemed hopeless.  There were days that I just wanted to eat myself to death just so it would all stop.  It seemed easier to be overweight and to deal with the effects of being fat then to control the cravings. Why bother trying to control cravings when they control me. The cravings would come in from all angles and in such a flurry. I felt so helpless and hopeless.  I was a social/ emotional eater out of control and seemed that there was not hope.  I did find hope, and I started to get it under control.  

There was a point in time when I worked extra hard at getting my emotional cravings and my weight under control.  I used to have certain foods that related to my emotions.  I would eat greasy fried food when feeling one emotion, and sugary sweets for another, Then I would turn to salty potato chips to soothe other emotions and so it went. I wanted to change that. I knew it was not healthy. It took a lot of hard work.  It was a process. I learned some great techniques for dealing with the emotions.  I was feeling good.  I had lost nearly a hundred pounds and was doing  and feeling well.  I was getting it all under control. I was managing it all, and then I became pregnant

Having three children very close together was a real challenge, yet a blessing. I would not trade it, but it has been one of the wildest parts of the ride so far. With the first child I craved carbs.  If I did not eat every hour or so and keep a constant supply of carbs running through I would get so sick. After nine months of pregnancy the habit was set. After about a year of continuing these habits, I decided that I needed to quit eating carbs every couple hours. I started doing better I was feeling better and, surprise; I was pregnant again.  This was followed by a quick third pregnancy.

A pattern had been set.  Eat carbs all day long to feel better.  It was habit, and one that was becoming to easy to maintain. Then it became so easy to get back into the emotional eating habits that had so easily taken over my adolescence.  Dealing with three little ones, and the effects of motherhood was a challenge. I knew it needed to stop the emotional eating once again. I had done it in the past and I knew that I could do it all over again.  I tried, yet it seemed as though the harder I worked the harder it was. I was not getting my emotional eating under control.  The tricks from the past were not working so well.

I did not understand that I had physical cravings from being vitamin and mineral deficient.  Pregnancy had taken  so much from my body making it more vitamin and mineral deficient. Understanding this had happened and getting those physical/ primal cravings under control has now given me the power to sort out and control my emotional and social eating patterns and cravings once again.  It is not easy especially when the social and emotional habits are such a part of me.

Family and social cravings are still hard for me.  They are deep rooted.  I still struggle when the family gets together because it is just so easy to grab handfuls of food and snacks when we are around each other. It is what we do, we get together and eat.  My sister struggles too. We often help each other. She brings better snacks, and encourages us to go for a walk together or other activities  that are not center around food. It is a long  journey but one that is a lot easier having taken the physical/ primal cravings from the mix.  I can focus on those external  things that trigger my desires to eat.

Social food cravings can be overcome by being aware of the triggers. There is usually something that triggers you to eat in a particular situation. For me staying out of the kitchen at my Mom's house is key for me. It is too easy to associate it with eating and to get into that habit.  If I am in the kitchen, I am focused on cooking and then getting out. Other examples could be something like... Hanging about that desk at work (you know, the one  that has the candy bowl) can trigger a social craving. If there is not candy there, you start to salivate and you want to go out and find some candy to fill that need.  Social cravings are not really cravings; they are  really just habits tied to, or triggered by certain actions or situations.  Often these habits and patterns can be changed by eliminating the things that trigger the overeating.  For example taking a different path to work if you are tempted by a bakery or fast food establishment on your route.  Being aware is a beginning place.

Emotional eating can also be overcome. I know, I have experienced it. It also begins by being aware. Asking yourself a few questions and being honest about the answers can really help you asses the situation. One key question is, "Why am I eating this?" The second key question is "How am I feeling?".  Asking these questions and being honest about it can be very enlightening to what is going on in your world.

Food journaling can be very helpful. Journaling your food intake is a good place to start. It makes you aware of patterns that you never may have seen. It makes you aware of problem areas. It makes you accountable for your food choices too. It was key to me getting in shape the first time, and is encouraging to me this time around as I work towards finding better health.

Tune in next week as we go into more details about a food journal and how to use it to your advantage. 

Below is a link to a post I wrote a while back about my emotional eating habits.   As I  looked back at it, I was amazed at where I was and where I am now. You can read and hear the confusion within me as I tried to sort out the physical cravings and the emotional/ social associations  that I had developed with food.
Confessions of an emotional eater

This is shared as part of real food wednesdays

Friday, February 7, 2014

Free e-book "If you have a craving, I have a cure"

I just downloaded a new book to my kindle that looks like it might be right in line with what we do here at life less hurried. A book entitled "If you have a craving, I have a cure" By Sheri Rose Shepherd.  

Just from the contents page alone I can tell I may enjoy it.  If you are craving more energy, rest, relaxation, time with the family, fun, adventure, spice in your life etc. Each of these items have a chapter dedicated to it. It sound like encouraging reading.  So give my friend at Cha-ching on a shoestring some blogging love for finding this deal. (I have downloaded a bunch of free kindle books thanks to her finding skills)  Click on the link below to go to her page and see the details. 

Free E-book

Thanks Kaley for finding great book deals.