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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gardening for healthy choices

As part of our healthy eating plan, I am adding a completely new garden this year. We had a square foot garden with tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans last year. However this year I have decided to add a separate greens garden. It will have nothing but rotating crops of lettuce, kale and any other "greens" I decide to try. I want to have a continuous variety through out the year. I have found several 4 x 4 foot gardens which will be perfect for the 2 of us.

Last years square foot garden
Our garden is 12 x 12 so I figure we will double everything. Here is a picture of our garden last spring. I can't wait until we can start putting plants in this year! I am also hoping to grow some herbs along the side of the garden so it will be one stop shopping. I have free range chickens so I have a wonderful compost pile that I use for my garden.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Hate Grocery Stores Now

I hate grocery stores now. A trip there is totally different than it used to be. When I went in the past, I could go in and get what I wanted quickly. It was easy I didn't have to read labels or anything.

Now I read everything on the label. I compare fats and whether they are saturated or unsaturated. I check cholesterol and sugars. I try to figure out if they are balanced or if there is a better choice. It takes me so much longer to shop and I actually and up buying less groceries. I find myself just going quickly by whole sections of the grocery store. I can't take the temptation of the ice cream section or the processed foods area.

However, I am learning more about the fresh vegetable area. I found a vegetable called name. I am going to try that next time.

The biggest thing I have noticed about grocery stores since I changed the way I eat is how much processed foods there are. When I worked in retail I saw so many people filling up their carts with ready to eat meals. I believe this is because there is so much of it in stores.  It is just easier to find than making your own.

I need a grocery store geared more to my new style of eating. I live in a rather community so I thought it would be fairly easy to find a store catering to this. However, I only found one and I plan to check it out this week. It is called Apple Crate Natural Market. I'll let you know what I think in another post. 

In the meantime, I am going to try to get a better attitude about what I am giving up but it will still be a challenge. I wonder if I can get my husband to do the grocery shopping so I won't be tempted as much?

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

with Hershey's chocolate syrup on it

Chocolate Applesauce Cake
I decided to try this recipe for Chocolate Applesauce Cake. It has 14 mg cholesterol and 3.9g saturated fat. I felt like this was acceptable. The sugars was 21.4g. The chess pie is 74mg cholesterol, 7g saturated fat and 39.8g sugars. I added a little Hershey's syrup as the "frosting" since he wanted something special on top.
The taste is great. It made up gooey which is fine. It reminded me of the Paula Dean gooey cakes. The recipe said it will be even better after 24 hours and I believe it.

I did make a few changes in this recipe. I left out the nuts. We just don't eat them. I have the recipe with my changes and the nutritional values if you want them. Just email me and I will send it to you. However I think this one would be great.

We will definitively be adding this to our menus for a dessert. I have learned that applesauce is a good substitute for the oils in desserts. I plan to start change my desserts this way in the future.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Website for recording food

I found a very helpful website. It is spark people. Here is why I like it. First it is free, which is helpful. Also it has a lot of tools I need. Not everyone who is trying to eat healthy is doing it to lose weight. That is not my real concern. Mine is to keep track of nutritional values in my food and make sure I'm eating a balanced heart healthy diet. I like the way you can set up your favorite foods. If you have an item that is not listed in the foods already, there is a feature for you to add them.You can build grocery lists. You can make favorites lists which are great to make this site work faster. Most people eat similar things on a regular basis. The only complaint I have is the grocery list. It isn't as easy to use as I want.

I am using the companion website spark recipe. You can make your own recipe collections. I have been working on that. You can put your recipes there and find the nutritional value. 

I also have to increase my activity level. The fitness section allows you to track your exercise. There are exercise videos that cover a variety of levels. I have used several of the video since this is a challenge for me.  I would like to find more videos online to use in exercise. I am looking for ones that are between 15-20 minutes. Right now I am looking for beginner levels but hope to be up to high levels in a few months.

You can do both at this site.  You can also print out reports. You can customize what you see. You can find people to interact with. Truthfully I haven't done as much as I should yet. However, I am still exploring it.
Has anyone else used spark people? Have they found a site they like better than this? Remember I am always looking for suggestions.

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Kale dish with Macaroni and Cheese

I bought kale for the first time yesterday. I know! My mother-in-law will tell you I hate anything green. That is not exactly true. I rarely like vegetables cooked. I like raw vegetables better. However, I decided to try this recipe since it looked SO good. It is Dawn's Kale Side Dish. The only difference for me was I left off the cashews. We can't chew nuts. Oh my, this dish is fabulous!!! The kale that cooked up crunchy was great. I had seen a recipe for Kale chips but wasn't sure about trying them. But now I will definitely make them. What I really liked about the recipe is that the complete nutritional value is available  I didn't have to run it through a recipe calculator. 

We are swapping days we eat meat now so this was a non-meat day. I paired a Classic Macaroni and Cheese dish that I wanted to try with it.  I felt comfortable using this recipe since I got it from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. It also had the nutritional values already figured. This dish was also very good. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

We like to eat simple meals. However, you might want  to add a fish or chicken dish with this meal to round it out. We will definitely eat this again. Let me know if you like it.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chocolate Chess Pie

I wanted to share a recipe I made last night. My husband wanted a chocolate chess pie and I wanted one I could eat. I got one at after Goggling for lower cholesterol chocolate chess pie. Oh this recipe is fanastatic. My grandson said it was like eating a fudge pie. I served it fresh out of the oven and still warm.

         Now let me tell you that I know it is high in sugar! But look at the calories from fat. Why so much fat calories? I must be missing something. The recipe has butter, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla. Which one is providing the fat calories? 

I want to know how I can make this recipe better for a person on a low cholesterol, low sugar eating plan. I considered using egg whits instead of whole eggs as an option. I also thought about using stevia instead of the white sugar. I wondered if it would be better to use brown sugar instead of white and if it would make a difference.  Would I use less sugar? Where would I go to figure this out? Just trial and error? But then again if I change the ingredients, how do I figure out the difference in the nutritional value?

I need to know if this is a recipe that I will just have to make for them or if I can modify it. Personally I want them to eat more like the doctor told me to so they don't end up with the same problems. My grandson is 10 and this is a good time to make his food choices better.

Like I said before if you have suggestions I will try them and post the results. If they don't work out I'll tell you why or what we didn't like about them.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The beginning

     This blog is the beginning of healthy eating and me asking for ideas and having a place to share ideas, tips, recipes and anything heart healthy. I have always considered myself very healthy. I am not overweight. I walk at least 2 miles a day. However recently I found out I need to lower my cholesterol and my sugar needs to come down too. My doctor agreed to give me 3 months to get the cholesterol from 328 or start taking medication. So my husband and I came home and started making changes. 

     Now we read labels which is something we had never really done before. But while I was reading a label looking at just the cholesterol, someone mentioned I needed to look at the different kind of fats and there is supposed to be a particular balance of them. Good grief!! I am totally confused. 
    We are finding major problems though. So here are our questions. What do you look at when you read labels? What do we need to compare and use to choose what to buy? What are your favorite healthy simple recipes? What websites do you use? What are your favorite tips? There is so much information out there that we are overwhelmed!
    I also have to exercise more. This is something I HATE to do. I was told it had to be intense exercise to really get the heart rate up. I want fun exercise ideas. Who or what do you use for exercise?  Right now I just turn on Pandora and uses the dance channel. Anything you want to tell me, suggest, or whatever-just leave a comment.  I WILL read and try them. 
    I want to get things set up where there is a lists of about 10 dinner meals so that I can make a master grocery list from. So let us know your ideas for lowering cholesterol and feeding the heart.

I will be posting recipes, tools and anything I can find. I would welcome your input. 

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