Category Archives: Nutrition

Healthy Flour Substitutions


White flour is bad.  There, I said it. Go have your cry then come back when you’re ready.

Good? Ok.

Here’s the thing about white flour.  White flour is what’s left after stripping virtually all the nutrients and fiber out of a whole grain of wheat.  Then companies “enrich” the flour with synthetic ingredients to make it “healthier”.  Your body basically turns those white carbs right into sugar.  Not good, people. Not good at all.

Simply switching to healthier flours when you bake (and in the bread/grain products you buy) will make a huge impact in the healthiness of your food!  Imagine eating carbs and not feeling guilty about it!!  Yay!

Which flours should you use? I’m so glad you asked!  Here are the ones I use the most.

Whole Wheat, for obvious reasons.  When using whole wheat flour in baking though, look for a whole wheat pastry flour.  It is lighter than regular whole wheat flour, but still maintains the goodness of the whole wheat. If I substitute whole wheat flour when baking I usually add more liquid than the recipe calls for so it doesn’t turn out too dry.

Half and Half – My husband is not a fan of wheat.  He refuses to eat wheat pasta and I just got him to accept the fact that I’m not buying white bread anymore.  Once in awhile I will make him a loaf of white bread though, just because I love him. So sometimes, as a compromise, I will use half white flour, half whole wheat flour. Or half regular pasta and half whole wheat or multi-grain pasta.  Because I’m nice like that.

Spelt Flour, an all natural grain that is high in protein.  This flour makes great pie crusts and is an all around good for you multi-grain flour.

Other Multi-Grain Flours – Buckwheat, Oat Flour and Brown Rice Flour. Note: these flours are gluten free, which means that you have to use special recipes to use them in baking. More about non-wheat flours here.

White Flour – If you are going to buy white flour, be sure to buy it unbleached and unenriched.  It’s the lesser of two evils as far as white flour goes.

This one small step can increase your family’s fiber intake by so much.  You’ll feel better and your body will love you for it!

Soggy Cereal and Other Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Serving Sizes

 Discussions about health and nutrition are a pretty standard thing around here.  I take the job of teaching my kids how to eat pretty seriously.  Not because I am obsessive about food and weight, but because if I don’t teach them what to eat and why, they will grow up unhealthy.  I want my kids to grow up to be well rounded adults…healthy in their bodies, souls and minds.  And teaching them about food is a big part of teaching them to take care of their bodies.

I have taught the boys what words like calories mean.  Calories are the thing in food that gives your body energy.  But everyone needs different amounts for different reasons.  Calories from healthy food?  Have as many as you want my growing little men. Calories from junk food like potato chips? Let’s take it easy.

I have also taught them to look at the nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods and at the ingredients list as well.  They know how to decipher if I will buy a cereal or not.  Is there high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients?  How many grams of fiber are there?  How many grams of sugar are there?

I think these are great ways to show your kids what you should eat and why.  Great opportunities to teach about health and wellness are in your cabinets folks!

So recently when we were having a constant overdose of soggy cereal, I began thinking about how to avoid such waste.  Every morning that someone ate cereal, half a bowl was getting thrown out because it got “too soggy”.

That’s when a light bulb went off, I think it literally lit up above my head like in a cartoon, actually.

It’s time teach about serving sizes!

I got a little too nerdy granola about it really.  But I’m ok with that.

It’s pretty well known that us Americans have that whole serving size thing down wrong.  A friend of mine who works at a steak house told me that the kid’s meal steak is larger than the recommended serving size of a steak for an adult.  I think that about sums it up.

Teaching kids about serving sizes is not about teaching them to eat so they don’t get fat.  It’s about teaching them limits.  It’s about showing them how much they need of certain foods and why.

So I took out the cereal boxes and began to show my boys what the serving size was, why it was there and how to use it.  Now, they know that they need only to pour a bowl of cereal that is the suggested serving size listed on the box.

They get out the measuring cups (They are practicing math and they don’t know it! Nerd Mom dream come true!)

They then pour only that much cereal into the bowl.

I also showed them where it shows how much milk you should use on the box and they poured just enough milk as well.

Now we know that they are not pouring excessive amounts of cereal into their bowls, thus causing unnecessary waste.  And as they grow up, they will know that serving size is something to consider and that it matters!

Money saved, lessons learned.


Do you have any tips on how you teach your kids simple lessons on eating right? I’d love to hear them!

Aritificial Food Coloring: Is it safe for our kids?

I’ve been a long time believer that artificial anything in our foods is not ok. Why would I want to feed my kids preservatives and additives and chemicals? Why would I want to eat anything like that?!

Of course the FDA says that everything in our food is fine, no worries. Everything…in certain amounts…is ok.  But that’s just the thing.  If you have a little bit of preservatives from this food and a little bit from that one and then a little bit more from your hair products (which seeps into your body) and a little bit from your favorite fast food joint, by the end of the day it’s quite possible that your body has been overloaded on some nasty chemically altered…stuff.  Add in the high fructose corn syrup, the additives, the genetically modified meat and milk, a dash of nutri-sweet and a good ol’ fashioned truck load of food dyes and you are sure to end up with an unhealthy body.

There is a lot of back and forth about if anything I even said above is true. They say no, we say yes…I’m not sure if we’ll ever agree. I often wonder, if these things are so bad for us, why are they allowed in our food and personal care products?!  It doesn’t make any sense!

That’s where we have to step in and make a decision for our families. We have to do what makes the most sense to us. My golden rule of food is “If you can’t read it, don’t eat it.  And, though I’m not perfect in it (I love me some nasty junk food) I do try to stick to it with the foods and drinks we consume most often.

There seems to be a shift in the thinking about food dyes right now.  The FDA has started looking into the issue rather than just saying it’s 100% not a problem, it sounds like they are starting to consider otherwise.  Which is a small but important step. Here is an article in the NY Times online that discusses the latest issues with food dyes and the idea that it causes negative behaviors in kids.

I agree all the way that food dyes are affecting our kids’ behaviors. I’ve seen it in action in other kids and my own.  I would encourage you all to try omitting foods with dyes in them for a week and see if you notice a difference in your kids.  There are plenty of products out there that use all natural dyes. If you notice a change, make the switch and then consider weeding out products that use other unhealthy options like high fructose corn syrup. Even if you don’t see a drastic change in behavior, look closer…are your kids sleeping better? less whiny? less likely to melt down? having fewer emotional out burts? It’s not just about hyperactivity when it comes to what stuff in your food is affecting your kids.

Think about it, make a change. Just knowing that you are making healthier choices for your kids’ health is going to feel great.

Stop Telling Me I’m Not Fat

I gained some weight over the winter. Who didn’t, right?

I’m not a “large” person. I’m not overweight. I’ll be honest. I wear a size eight pants.  Not bad for three kids if I do say so myself.  But those size eights are barely buttoning these days.

So I mention to people that I need to lose a few pounds. Five. Ten. At least. And what do they say?

“Shut. Up. You’re not fat!”

OK, maybe I’m not “fat”. But I’m heavier than normal for me.  And I don’t feel good. And this inter-tube around my waist is coming between me and my form fitting shirts. And I’m not even going to acknowledge the back fat. It knows how I feel.

It’s frustrating to be a “thin” person who needs to drop a few pounds.  Everyone gives me a hard time about being skinny. And “Oh shut up, you have NO idea what it means to need to lose weight.”

Maybe they are right. Maybe I don’t.  But does that make my struggle with my weight less important?  Don’t we all have the right to want to be healthier?  Because that is the bottom line for me. I’m not healthy right now.  I don’t feel good about myself.  Hello, my pants don’t fit.

If you are breathless after walking up a couple of flights of stairs you need to do something about it.  That has nothing to do with your pant size.

So, please, if someone “thin” says they need to exercise, drop a few pounds, and/or stop with the cookie eating…don’t berate us!

Everyone deserves to be supported in their quest of living a healthier life.

And no one, whether size eight or eighteen, likes their own back fat.

Am I right?

What’s REALLY In Your Food?

I have a lot to say about the whole “what’s really in your food” statement, but I got this email today from Eat This Not That and I thought it was worth a quick share.  Their list discusses what’s really in some of your favorite fast food and convenience items. Pretty interesting, check it out!

What’s REALLY In Your Food?

Hormone Balancing Coffee Concoction

I heard about this wonderful coffee concoction from a local health food store a long time ago and was told my good friend that she drank it as well and loved the results. I enjoy the flavor and the health benefits are amazing!  If you are a coffee drinker and looking for a way to make it more health beneficial and less full of high fructose corn syrup flavored coffee creamer and hip enlarging white sugar (totally talking to myself here) then give this a try!

Here is some info that I found from to help explain the why and how of this hormone balancing coffee drink:

“Keeping your hormones balanced is one of the most vital things you can do to keep your health in check. Hormones control many of the body’s most important functions, such as blood pressure, metabolism and insulin. A mixture of coffee, cocoa and maple syrup has been shown to help keep your hormones balanced. A study done by Harvard Medical School shows that coffee may have anti-cancer properties and reduce the risk of diabetes. Cocoa beans are a good source of flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Maple syrup is rich in manganese and zinc, which are good for your heart and immune system.
Also, for the women folk, it can help with keeping your monthly rigmarole balanced as well! I’ve heard of women saying it keeps their periods (sorry men folk) lighter and their moods more balanced during that “I might kill somebody” time of the month. I may or may not have experienced the same results, but just in case my Dad is reading, I shall refrain from the details. (You’re welcome, Dad…and the rest of the world.)

This mixture is also shown to aid people with osteoporosis!

So here is the “recipe”:
Mix 1 teaspoon of pure cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of grade B organic maple syrup in the bottom of a cup or a mug. Mix until the cocoa powder and maple syrup form a thick paste. (Be sure to use only grade B maple syrup as this is the only syrup that is bottled straight from the tree and goes through no processing.)
Fill up the cup with hot, freshly brewed coffee. With a spoon, mix until the drink is frothy.

Drink the coffee, cocoa and maple syrup mixture to regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Drink this Cobalamin, or vitamin B12, mixture first thing in the morning so your body is relaxed and stress free for the remainder of the day.

Here is the link to the full article from that I got all this super duper information from.


Cereal FAIL

I love cereal. Give me a bowl of Lucky Charms or The Captain’s Peanut Butter Crunch and I will love you forever.  But I restrain myself from buying them.  Oh, the things we do for our children.  Yes, I gave those cereals up for my kids.  Why?  Cereal is the breakfast of champions, right?  Uh, WRONG.  Most cereals are devoid of any kind of nutritional value.  And don’t let those “NOW, less sugar and MORE Fiber!” lines fool you.  I mean, really, are we supposed to believe that Fruit Loops are actually good for you?  Add up the dyes and high fructose corn syrup and it’s no wonder why our kids can’t concentrate in the morning!  Did you know that some food dyes are proven to cause hyperactivity in children?  Oh yes, it’s true.  But that’s a whole other post.  And don’t even get me started on the affects that white sugar and high fructose corn syrup have on us, especially our children.

SO, what cereals are good for you?   I mean, really good for you?  Eat This Not That has a list of the 24 Best and Worst Cereals on their site.  Go ahead and check it out.  You will be shocked at which cereals are healthy and which are, excuse my language, crap.

Before you go read it, which cereals do you think fall into the healthy and unhealthy categories?

-Quaker Natural Granola
-Frosted Shredded Wheat
EnviroKidz Organic Koala Crisp
-Kellog’s Smart Start

You might be surprised!

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /